BASC and Natural England have signed a partnership agreement recognising the importance of shooting’s conservation contribution to the English countryside.

BASC and Natural England will now work on an annual action plan setting out a formula for joint working to achieve common goals, including the delivery of the government’s Biodiversity 2020 programme, coastal access, wildfowling consents and future reviews on general licenses.

BASC’s Green Shoots programme will receive particular emphasis, including how BASC members can contribute to the monitoring and conserving of habitats and species as part of the Biodiversity 2020 programme.

BASC’s director of conservation Tim Russell said: “BASC is pleased to sign this modern partnership agreement with Natural England which recognises the important contribution that people who shoot make to the nature and landscape conservation of the English countryside, and commits the two organisations to exploring how this contribution can be further developed. The agreement also recognises that shooting as an outdoor recreation can improve health and well-being and makes a significant contribution to the economy, particularly in rural areas.”

BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “This partnership agreement is a significant marker. Natural England formally and clearly recognises the benefits of lawful shooting and its related conservation effort. It sets out a blueprint for discussing issues, for working together and for achieving positive results for shooting and conservation. It should be welcomed by everyone who shoots.”