The National Trust has explained the reasoning behind its decision not to renew the licence of a Surrey shooting syndicate ? and says it has nothing to do with a nationwide anti-shooting policy.

In a statement to Shooting Times, the Trust said it notified the shooting syndicate on the Polesden Lacey estate that their licence would not be renewed after it ends in February, ?due to the increased use of the estate by walkers, horse riders and cyclists.?

Andrea Selley, Polesden Lacey general manager said: ?While the shoot has always operated following a strict code of conduct and safety guidelines, we have known for some years that the increasing use of the estate by the public would one day mean the shoot would have to end, because of the disturbance that shooting can cause. We feel that time has now come.?

Visitor numbers to Polesden Lacey?s gardens have grown from 100,000 per year when the licence was first issued in 1977, to around 260,000 today.

The Trust said that these figures indicate the estate?s increased use and popularity, and its incompatibility with shooting.

However, as shooting licences continue to be terminated on National Trust land around the country, many shooters will need more if they are to be convinced that the organisation is not prejudiced against their sport.

Earlier this year, Shooting Times reported how members of a shoot on the Wallington estate in Northumberland had accused the Trust of an ?alarming ignorance of shooting? after their lease was suddenly terminated in order to create a ?visitor hub?.

Speaking in the current issue of Sporting Gun, Polesden Lacey shoot captain, Andrew Courtney, said: ?I used to think the National Trust was about preservation and conservation, but increasingly it seems to be about creating theme parks. That?s certainly my perception at Polesden Lacey, and it?s a great shame.?

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