Natural England has attributed the recent extraordinary improvement in important wildlifesites to the work of gamekeepers and shoot managers. Thisyear,

96.5 per cent of England?s 4,119 SSSIs are in favourable condition or are on course to reach it, up from only 57 per cent in 2003. Much of the improvement is on moorland areas run as shooting estates. Natural England has revealed that the government target has been exceeded in north-east England with 98.8 per cent of SSSIs now meeting the required standard ? the highest percentage of any region in England.

NE?s Chief Executive, Dr Helen Phillips, said: ?Natural England appreciates the significant benefits that current best practice management on these grouse moors delivers and we applaud the members of the Moorland Association for their continued careful guardianship of these special places.?

The rest of this article appears in 30th March issue of Shooting Times.

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