Research article

Habitat creation and management

Abstract

Support for environmental stewardship remains high as the UK takes an increasingly environmentally focused approach to land use


More focus on wider environment

As the UK looks to take an increasingly environmentally focused approach to land use and management, the results for the latest season demonstrate the significant amount of environmental management work already undertaken by shoots and their ongoing commitment to it. Of the participating shoots 74% are using land covered by a stewardship agreement and 81% say they or their landlord will seek to join a successor scheme when their current agreement expires.

 

Current conservation work includes:

Most of the environmental indicators that we monitor show results consistent with previous seasons; for example 81% of shoots have established buffer strips and/or field corners compared to an average of 77% across the three previous seasons. However, more shoots have established pollen and nectar mixes, with half of them now including a pollen and nectar mix in their habitats, an increase of 9% compared to the average for the last three seasons.

On the other hand, the results suggest that the proportion of shoots feeding after the shooting season has ended has declined to 86% from an average of 94% across the three previous seasons. Feeding the remaining released birds until adequate natural food is available is recommended best practice within the Code of Good Shooting Practice. It is an important activity to continue and also benefits other farmland birds.

 

Membership of shoot assurance schemes builds

Assurance is essential for driving high standards and developing game meat markets

Quality and reputation are key to the game meat market, so membership of a shoot assurance scheme allows shoots and the industry to ensure their practices and the provenance of their game meets rigorous and ethical standards. The British Game Alliance launched its independently audited British Game Assurance Scheme and kite mark a year ago, so it is encouraging to see that support for self-assurance is building. Of our survey participants 41% are now members of a shoot assurance scheme.

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