FOLLOWING this week's hearing of the Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, organisations representing the game shooting community have expressed their disappointment that the committee voted narrowly in favour of a course of action which includes examining the possibility of a licensing scheme for game shooting in Scotland.

A joint statement from Scottish Land and Estates, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, BASC Scotland, the Scottish Association for Country Sports, the Scottish Countryside Alliance, and the Scottish Moorland Group read: “It is widely acknowledged across the political spectrum that only a tiny minority of people engage in wildlife crime and further regulation will impact on communities where game shooting is of vital social, economic and environmental importance.

"It was also demonstrated throughout the committee’s evidence sessions that licensing is not a definitive solution, with intolerable instances of crimes against birds of prey still existing in European countries with a licensing system in place.

“We are heartened by the fact that members of the committee today recognised the shooting community’s set of proposals which, if taken forward, could have a significant impact in helping to eradicate wildlife crime for good. That is the objective we all want to achieve and we believe that a potent combination of punishment and prevention is the most effective way forward. Significant progress has been made and this should be built upon."