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The most significant research for a decade

The Value of Shooting report provides vital ammo on the economic, environmental and social value of shooting, says Conor O’Gorman.

The most significant research for a decade 

The Value of Shooting report provides vital ammo on the economic, environmental and social value of shooting, says Conor O’Gorman 

The last Value of Shooting report was published in 2014 and since then there have been studies published on the social value and natural capital benefits of shooting. 

The headline figures for the 2024 update have been widely reported in the sporting and national media that shooting is worth £3.3 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) annually to the UK economy. To put that in perspective, that’s more than golf (£2.6bn). 

Before I delve into some of the details, I would like to highlight the collaborative approach that was taken to carry out this research, which is reflected in the diversity of shooting interests covered in the report, with 24 organisations involved in various ways (p24). So, this is not only about game shooting, it’s about every aspect of live quarry and target shooting and it all knits together with the collective benefits provided to us as participants and to society. 

Shooting contributes to the UK economy both directly through spending on goods and services, and in a wider context through the supporting tiers of commercial and voluntary activity that service the shooting community. Considering the damage to the global economic picture caused by the Covid pandemic and the subsequent cost of living crisis, closely followed by issues related to avian influenza, shooting in the UK is in robust shape. 

Materials and services 

As participants in shooting — around 620,000 of us — we spend money on guns, ammunition, sporting clothing and accessories, travel, hospitality and payment to shooting providers. The providers buy materials and services. 

All this economic activity supports a nationwide supply chain of manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers required to service it. Providers and retailers employ a wide range of staff, largely sourced locally. And, of course, a significant amount of shooting activity relies on the involvement of an army of volunteers and unpaid workers who all contribute to the local economy. 

Considering all of these aspects, the figures indicate that in the UK, including both the tangible GVA, employment and wage impact, and the intangible impact of Contribution in Kind — the value of voluntary or unpaid support to shooting activities — shooting activities generate the equivalent of 173,000 full-time jobs and £9.3bn of economic activity annually. 

Shooting is key driver for nature conservation carried out on 7.6 million hectares. That’s a much bigger area than that owned by the RSPB (134,356 ha) and the National Trust (238,663 ha). 

Farmers who appreciate shooting are encouraged to improve biodiversity and, as a result where shooting takes place there is likely to be a more biodiverse countryside. Additionally, shooting rents can provide a substantial contribution towards the costs of conservation work. 

Nearly all shooting providers, particularly game syndicates, wildfowling clubs, grouse moor managers and deer management operations, carry out extensive conservation work to benefit both quarry species and the wider ecosystem. That includes controlling pests and predators to protect wildlife, managing woodlands, cover crops, or putting out feed for songbirds over the winter months when other food is scarce. 

All these facts and figures and many more will be used by BASC and other organisations to argue our case for years to come. But the next few weeks are critical in getting key messages across to candidate MPs. So with all that in mind, please do contact your parliamentary candidates via BASC’s general election campaign ( uk) before 4 July. You could personalise your emails to them based on your own interests, perhaps backed up with some of the facts and figures in this article. 

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