NEIL Hamilton, UKIP Leader in Wales and AM for Mid & West Wales, is urging the Welsh Government to review plans to ban pheasant shooting on public land in Wales.

Mr Hamilton, Party Spokesman for Rural Affairs and the Environment, has slammed the move and warned the decision could have serious implications for jobs and the environment in Wales.

He has demanded immediate action from the Welsh Government to safeguard the future of field sports such as shooting and angling in Wales.

Mr Hamilton said:

“Shooting contributes about £75 million to the Welsh Economy every year and is vital to the survival of many small and medium sized businesses, especially in remote areas and during the winter months.

“It supports the equivalent of 2,400 full time jobs and large land areas in Wales benefit from shoot management, with shooters and game keepers undertaking a huge amount of conservation work every year.

It is an integral part of life in rural Wales, a key economic contributor and also plays a major role in maintaining the health of wildlife and bio-diversity.

“I have received hundreds of messages from constituents throughout Mid & West who, in the light of moves against shooting, angling and now trail hunting, feel the very essence of country life is under assault from Welsh Government.
“The people of rural Wales want assurances that that there will be no move further to tighten restrictions on pheasant shooting in Wales and that the recent decision to ban shooting on public land will be reviewed.”

 
Last month, it was revealed that National Resources Wales would not be renewing leases for shooting pheasants on public land from March 2019.

Welsh Government also announced it would not support the breeding of the gamebirds on government-owned estates and applications for firearms use for other sports, such as clay pigeon shooting would be considered on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.

Mr Hamilton added:

“I am extremely concerned about the direction of Welsh Government policy and fear all anglers, shooters, and anybody in country sports generally are under threat.
“It is clear that political pressure from the Environment Minister, and lobbying by animal rights groups, forced NRW Board to change its views. I am now urging the Government urgently to review the recent decision to ban shooting on public land.”

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