2015-09-09   facebook twitter rss

Mediation Needed Between Moorland Guardians and Conservationists

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Environment, Rory Stewart, says differences between moorland guardians and campaigning conservationists need to be resolved for the good of rural economies.

Mr Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders, speaking at the CLA Game Fair explained:
“We are quite a small island, we don’t have that much land and we are doing things which are very challenging. We have some of the greatest food production in the world, some of the greatest sporting estates in the world, we have some of the beautiful landscape in the world and wonderful species, and we are defined by the fact that we care deeply about our landscape.

Rory Stewart MP

Rory Stewart MP

“Clearly the only way we are going to have a grown up, and to use this horrible jargony word, sustainable – by which I mean long-term policy, in our relationship with the environment is to bring farmers with us.

“It is completely mad to try and pursue an environmental policy that doesn’t win the trust of farmers and has them onside so that they understand what’s going on, and a policy that farmer themselves believe in.

“In certain cases productive farming is about achieving a monoculture and environmental management is about trying to achieve as much diversity as possible, he said, saying that this was bound throw up ‘dilemmas’.”

He said he was keen to find a way of making grouse moor shooting in the uplands agreeable to both moorland owners and conservationists who are concerned about illegal persecution of protected birds and the environmental impact of associated moorland management.

“We have been negotiating week in, week out, sitting around the table with the RSPB and the Moorland Association trying to get this right.

“We need to try and bring with us if we can the one million members of the RSPB but we also need to understand, grouse shooting is something which contributes a very significant and serious about to the rural economy and rural areas.

“This is land which isn’t in a conventional sense productive and it’s important for our society and culture and getting that relationship right between the RSPB and moorland owners is going to be really important for the future, because these are the landowners who can provide so much in terms of habitat benefits.

“They have already proven across Britain that gamekeepers are really good at working with the environment. They have done fantastic things both in supporting species and driving out pests and if we can get that trust right, it’s going to be essential, but I promise you it is something I am doing a lot of and it’s not something I have easy answers.”

Moorland Association

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