Shooting and keeping.

DEFRA ministers have told visitors to The CLA Game Fair that it is people, including gamekeepers and landowners, that are at the heart of its Natural Environment White Paper.

Speaking on the event?s first day, the minister for the natural environment and fisheries Richard Benyon, debated the recently published document with a panel including the GWCT?s Tom Oliver and Martin Harper of the RSPB.

Mr Benyon said: ?What underpins this document is that it has people at its heart, and it?s really important at occasions like this to recognise that it is landowners, foresters, farmers and gamekeepers, local communities, the whole myriad of people who mind our countryside and care for it desperately.?

?We want to make them feel valued and make sure that the Government makes it easy for them to continue to do the right thing. It?s people who make, protect and enhance our countryside.?

The entire DEFRA ministerial team visited this year?s CLA Game Fair.

Besides Mr Benyon, farming minster Jim Paice, secretary of state Caroline Spelman and Lord Henley all toured the site at varying times over the three days.

Caroline Spelman said: ?The CLA has done a tremendous job in raising public awareness for the challenges that face those who own land and live and work in the countryside. ?The CLA Game Fair is one of the focal points in the year when people from all over the country come to see everything that goes on. The CLA can be very proud of the fact that this event is a really important one in DEFRA?s agricultural calendar.?

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