The National Trust has revealed that a shooting syndicate in Surrey, which was told that its lease would be terminated at the end of the current season, may have a future after all.

Speaking exclusively to Shooting Times, the Trust?s director of conservation, Peter Nixon, encouraged all parties at the Polesden Lacey estate near Dorking, to work together to find a solution. He said: ?We would definitely like to find a way of resolving the situation there; but it?s a practical management issue.

?Andrea Selley, the general manager, has said that it is difficult to see a way in which significantly increased access to areas that may not have been accessed before can coexist with shooting.

?We?re looking to see if there is a way of the shoot operating in the future, but at the moment, at a local level, she doesn?t see how that can be achieved. However, rather than ruling it out completely, we are looking for potential solutions.?

Earlier this month, Andy Courtney, leaseholder of gameshooting rights at the site, told Shooting Times that the reasons used to terminate the shoot were ?disingenuous?, and that Ms Selley?s decision was based on a dislike of the principles of gameshooting, rather than its incompatibility with increased visitor numbers (A betrayal of Trust, 2 November).

The shoot?s gamekeeper, David Marr, has also appealed for help from his local MP. In an open letter, he accused ?townies? at the Trust of forgetting the reason for the organisation?s existence.

Though Peter described Polesden Lacey as a ?pinch point?, where tension between shooting and increased public access had resulted in the shooters having to give way, he stressed that there was no national anti-shooting policy.

He said: ?We are striving to ensure that shooting around the country does continue, but there will be places where it will be really difficult. That?s inevitable, and shouldn?t be taken as one swallow making a summer. That would be a total misunderstanding of the situation.

?Clearly the decision in each case must be made on a local level ? we give the authority to our local property and general managers, like Andrea, to make decisions on a whole host of matters. Otherwise you would end up with a completely bureaucratic quagmire.

?We encourage local decision-making within frameworks. There is a framework here in terms of the National Trust?s overarching policy relating to fieldsports: where they are traditional and well-established, we will try to enable them to continue, providing that they are compatible with nature conservation and public access, and are within the law.

?If a situation flares up at a local level, there is a process whereby others can get involved to discuss whether our policies have been properly implemented. That?s what?s happening now. The start point is that you get on with it at a local level and allow people to establish relationships ? and nine times out of 10 that works.

?It is very clear that access and nature conservation are our principal purposes, and we?ll allow shooting to continue if we can within those. Unfortunately there may be some cases where reconciliation simply isn?t possible; but I would hope that those are as few as possible, and that we do all we can to find a resolution to any areas of conflict.?

Peter also stressed that a close working relationship with shooters was essential. He described the Trust?s relationship with BASC as ?good?, and said that the two organisations would soon link up to launch a ?good practice guide? which would be beneficial to everybody.

He said: ?It takes two to tango. There is a real onus on shooters to look at how they conduct their activities in a way that recognises the sensitivities and concerns that the public has. ?The shooting community will have to look at how it manages its operations to accommodate changing access as well. We want to find common ground ? that?s what we should all be seeking to do, rather than searching for where the differences may lie.?