A new survey of grouse shooting in England and Wales by The Moorland Association has found economic and conservation benefits similar to those of the recent report on the sector in Scotland by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (News, 11 August).

The survey, commissioned by The Moorland Association to mark its 25th anniversary, has revealed that the annual cost of managing the grouse moors in England and Wales is now £52.5million. In the past decade, Moorland Association members have returned heather to 89 square miles of English moorland (an area the size of Birmingham), surpassing the Government?s conservation target for this threatened habitat by 170 per cent.

Edward Bromet, chairman of The Moorland Association, said: ?Despite the recession, Moorland Association members have not curbed their spending on conservation and grouse moor management. The number of gamekeepers employed is now 350, up 25 per cent from 2000, ploughing money into the rural economy, regenerating rare habitat and boosting wildlife.?

The survey reveals further details of the growing role for grouse shooting in the fragile economy of the uplands. The activity creates 42,500 days of work a year for contractors and local people on shoot days. In addition 6,500 nights are booked in rural hotels by people who come from all over the world to shoot grouse.

The rest of this article appears in 25th August issue of Shooting Times.

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