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Our wildfowl will be better for NE learning

BASC holds three workshops, attended by Natural England staff and others, to highlight shared interests in conserving our cherished birds.

More than 40 Natural England (NE) staff have attended three BASC wildfowling workshops held at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) reserves since the beginning of the year. 

The Introduction to Wildfowling workshops, which have also attracted members of local fowling clubs and a Crown Estate representative, have sought to improve NE staff’s overall knowledge and understanding of wildfowling and to help them make more informed and pragmatic decisions when consenting to the activity on the European protected sites network. 

The workshops were held in Lancashire, the WWT’s head office in Gloucestershire and Norfolk. During the workshops, Sarah Pinnell, BASC’s head of land management and consenting, explained the consenting process and how the association works with wildfowling clubs. James Green, BASC’s head of wildfowl and wetlands, covered the law, best practice, equipment and quarry identification. 

Wildfowling clubs — including Preston & District Wildfowlers Association, Lytham & District Wildfowlers Association, Gloucestershire Wildfowlers & Conservation Association, Fenland Wildfowlers Association, and Ely & District Wildfowlers Association — also attended the workshops and used short presentations to showcase their history and conservation efforts to assembled NE staff. 

BASC and NE representatives felt the three workshops were a positive step forward in building relationships between NE, BASC and fowling clubs, all of whom have shared conservation goals. 

A Natural England spokesman said: “The workshops provided by BASC gave a useful opportunity for NE advisers to learn about the habitat maintenance and restoration work that clubs undertake on the marshes they own and manage.” 

James Green from BASC said: “The success of these three workshops exceeded expectations. Each of these three events clearly underscored the shared interests among us, with conservation and preservation of our wetlands at the forefront of everyone’s mind.” 

Chris Barker, who is a member of BASC Council, chairman of the association’s Wildfowling Liaison Committee (WLC) and secretary of the Fenland Wildfowlers Association, said: “I have no doubt that the work undertaken on these days will be of significant benefit to the long-term future of wildfowling. 

“The work has opened doors, fostered relationships, will influence future decisions regarding consenting, and it’s highlighted the role that wildfowling clubs play in the enhancement and continued management of our protected site network.”