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DEFRA boss Michael Gove praises shooters

DEFRA secretary Michael Gove singled out the work done at the GWCT’s Allerton Project as he once again praised the important role played by land managers.

Michael Gove

Environment secretary Michael Gove has once again celebrated the role that game shooting and land management plays in preserving the countryside.

Mr Gove addressed an audience at last month’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Game and Wildlife Conservation, in a meeting chaired by esteemed countryman Sir Nicholas Soames.

Importance of land managers

The DEFRA boss highlighted the 470,000 people who are involved in fieldsports and game shooting in the UK and told those attending the meeting: “When we think about the population that is concerned about the management of our land and environmental richness and diversity, and being able to contribute to the rural economy, those involved in game and wildlife conservation are equal in number and, in my view, just as important to listen to as those who have been managing the land for traditional agriculture enterprises,” he said. “These have done so much over so many years to make our countryside productive and to keep it beautiful.”

An interest in sustainability

This latest show of support for fieldsports by Mr Gove comes after similar comments in July, when he told the All Party Parliamentary Group for Game and Wildlife Conservation that “those who have an interest in game shooting have by definition an interest in sustainability”.

Mr Gove also discussed a common-sense approach to the new post-Brexit farming policy at the meeting, which he said will use what already works and improve upon elements that are not fit for purpose. He had high praise for the Allerton Project, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s research and demonstration farm at Loddington in Leicestershire, which, he said, “pioneers some of the techniques which I suspect we will want to see adopted in a more widespread fashion by landowners and managers in order to ensure that we reap the right environment for them”.