NEW GUIDELINES to support wildlife recovery alongside game management have been launched by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The organisation has presented 12 key principles that they hope will complement the Scottish Government’s 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity, including the creation, management and restoration of habitat specifically for wildlife and the Shared Approach to Wildlife Management coordinated by NatureScot.

GWCT maintains that decades of research has demonstrated that, when done well, all forms of game management, including shoots where birds are released, can deliver a net biodiversity gain.

“These principles outline how good game management can be part of the solution,” said GWCT head of policy for Scotland, Ross Macleod. “We hope that they provide not just practical guidance for game managers and participants in game shooting but broaden the discussion about practical land use for conservation organisations, Government and the general public.”

The principles were developed by GWCT with the support of other organisations and, vitally, the shoots and shooting community who will need to follow them.

Mr Macleod continued: “The sector needs a framework to show how it delivers for net biodiversity gain and, by securing support for the principles, we have confidence that these will be well adopted and used to that end.”

The principles are based on agreed UK industry codes of practice including the Code of Good Shooting Practice and British Game Alliance standards, the UK and Scottish legislative frameworks (eg Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011, as well as the Habitats Directive and Habitats Regulations. They also align with international guidelines on sustainable use of natural resources, including the Bern Convention and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).