BASC has won a grant of £1.6million to develop gameshooting in the south-west of England. The grant, which represents the largest ever secured for shooting in the UK, is part of a larger £18million package designed to boost tourism in the West Country. It is funded by the European Union’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and will be administered by the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) under DEFRA’s authority.

The grant is intended to draw more tourists to the region by boosting the gameshooting sector and tying it in with other attractions. BASC’s southwest regional director Jamie Stewart led the successful bid in partnership with the Westcountry Rivers Trust. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to build up sporting enterprises and opportunities in the region and to help increase shooting and angling’s contribution to the region’s critically important tourism industry and the wider rural economy.”

A key reason for the success of the bid was the fact that shooting sports take place throughout the winter months and so has the potential to provide a revenue stream for small businesses in the off season. The 2006 PACEC survey of the environmental and economic benefits of shooting also played a vital part in the application process.

Jamie Stewart said: “I think initially the bodies involved were not aware of the huge contribution shooting sports make to the West Country’s economy. They were impressed when we showed them the figures in the PACEC report. Shooting is a comparatively disparate, low-profile industry and people often don’t realise the huge contribution it makes. That combined with the fact that it generates revenue outside the summer tourist season, was a major factor in winning the grant.”

The rest of this article appears in 21st July issue of Shooting Times.

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