Protecting our Rural Economy

Updated July 2023

Natural Resources Wales have been tasked by the Welsh Government to see what people think about a proposed licensing system for the release of pheasants and red-legged partridges in Wales.

The Welsh Government have asserted that this consultation is not on whether or not shooting live quarry should continue in Wales, but rather on further regulating the sector.

However, to me and many others, this move is the first in the Welsh Government’s ultimate pursuit of ending game shooting in Wales

I want to see a vibrant, working countryside enhanced by a diverse environment in Wales and, as the game shooting sector contributes to this goal in my view, I will not support a licensing system being introduced, or a ban on the practise, and will continue to oppose this agenda

Whilst game shooting is not something I participate in myself, I am not compelled like those in the Welsh Government to intrude on those who do with a big wagging finger. It is my view that shooting has both environmental and economic advantages.

Biodiversity greatly benefits from management activities by the game shooting sector, and those involved in it care deeply for the environments they are active in, as it is an integral part of their pastimes and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, shooting contributes an annual spend of £7.4m to conservation across Wales, equivalent to 490 full-time jobs. Beyond this, shooting activities in Wales contribute £75m to the economy, and there are nearly 3,000 shooting-related businesses across the country, directly employing 2,400 full-time people.

A ban on shooting will mean making local workers unemployed, closing businesses, and destroying conservation practices across the nation.

All of this has been conveyed in hundreds of emails in my inbox this year, as well as very well-attended public meetings, some of which I have attended.  Many livelihoods depend on shooting and conservation in rural Wales, so I will do my utmost to show there remains a role for this in the Welsh economy and our society.

For these reasons, I will continue to stand up for Wales’ rural communities in the face of efforts of, in my view, out-of-touch ministers in Cardiff Bay to undermine what many of us in Mid Wales consider to be a normal part of our culture and economy.