The social value and public benefits generated in the UK by shooting sports cannot be ignored, according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
As MPs prepare to discuss the social economy at Westminster in a debate led by Hazel Blears, the Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, on 2 September, BASC is highlighting new independent research which sets out the public good generated by shooting and the social cohesion and benefits for both participants and people living in the vicinity of well-managed shoots.
The research, published in the Value of Shooting report in July 2014, shows that local businesses and people derive an economic benefit within a 10-15 mile radius of a shoot. This helps business and provides income and stability for rural communities. It also shows that on a driven shoot day, on average, up to 10 people who are not shooting will attend as spectators. In addition, there will be teams of gun dog handlers and beaters who make essential contributions on the day.
Shooting generates £2 billion for the UK economy every year and supports the equivalent of 74,000 full-time jobs. Almost two million hectares of land are actively managed for conservation with £250 million being spent every year as a result of shooting. This conservation work centres on creating and managing habitats, which benefit a wide range of species.
BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “Shooting’s contribution to life in the UK involves both direct and indirect benefits for the economy, the environment and social life. The research shows that people enjoy the social aspects of shooting; the wellbeing from being out in the countryside in well-managed and nature-rich environments; enjoyment of the company of others and the contribution to good health which comes from being active.”
Jarrett continued: “Shooting sits firmly in the social economy, providing positive contributions which could not be replicated by either the private or public sectors of the economy. Without shooting, valuable conservation work would not be carried out, rural economies would suffer without the extra income it generates and people’s wellbeing would suffer. We urge all politicians to recognise the value of shooting. The research is being sent to MPs by BASC and our 135,000 members. We hope they will take the time to study the facts for themselves.”
The Value of Shooting report can be seen here.