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Scottish water poised to end grouse shooting

Concerns over wader conservation have been raised following the news that Scotland’s publicly owned water provider is considering calling time on grouse moor management on its land

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Following on from the news about United Utilities announcing that there will be no new grouse shooting leases on its land (a move that they now seem to be backpedaling on), Scottish Water, Scotland’s publicly-owned water supplier, has announced that it is going to review grouse shooting on its land too. It should be noted that there is just one active grouse shooting lease on its ground, which is on a relatively small area in the Angus Glens. 

Scottish Water, in a statement sent to Revive, an anti-grouse shooting group, has said that the lease is set to expire in 2027 and they will review their options at that point. Scottish Water has noted that any changes will be subject to a formal decision-making process. However, they have said it is likely that their considerations will lead to a change of permitted land use. At the same time, they have said there will be no new grouse shooting leases created across their catchment estate. 

Dee Ward, a grouse Shot, grousemoor owner, and the Chair of Scottish Land and Estates, is set to meet with Scottish Water in the next couple of weeks to discuss their plans in the Angus Glens, historically one of Scotland’s most prolific grouse shooting areas. He told Shooting Times that he is concerned that “without predator control and habitat management on their land” – of course, two of the benefits of grouse moor management – “the abundant wader populations will not be looked after and will decline”. 

The Angus Glens is currently a place of change. Last year news broke that Forestry and Land Scotland (formerly the Forestry Commission Scotland) was set to buy the 16500 acre Glen Prosen estate, the most westerly of the Angus Glens, from Robin Batchelor. Their plan is reportedly to cover it in trees.