A new law aimed at protecting wildlife and the environment by regulating the grouse shooting industry has passed its final vote in the Scottish Parliament.

In a significant move for nature conservation, members of the Scottish Parliament have voted to pass the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill. This progressive legislation marks a pivotal moment in the management of Scotland’s uplands, particularly concerning the licensing of grouse shooting and intensive moorland practices.

The legislation is designed to regulate and oversee activities on grouse moors, specifically targeting some of the most attentive practices such as burning on peatlands and wildlife trapping. These measures are aimed at enhancing the protection of Scotland’s wildlife, including iconic species like birds of prey, and safeguarding vital habitats such as carbon-rich peatlands.

One of the key provisions of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill is the complete ban on the use of fox snares in Scotland. This ban represents a crucial step forward in wild animal welfare and reducing the risk to non-target species, such as badgers, hares and deer, often caught in these indiscriminate traps.

Moreover, grouse moors that are found to be associated with wildlife crime or environmental damage face the prospect of licence suspension, ultimately leading to closure if necessary. This stringent approach underscores Scotland’s commitment to holding accountable those who threaten its natural heritage.

Wild Moors, a prominent nature conservation organisation, has lauded the Scottish Government’s decisive action in tackling wildlife crime and environmental degradation in the uplands. The introduction of licensing for grouse moors represents a significant stride towards ensuring the sustainable management of these landscapes for future generations.

The move has not only been applauded within Scotland but has also garnered attention and support across the UK. Advocates for wildlife protection are now urging Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead by introducing similar licensing measures for grouse moors in England.

The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, and The Green Party have all thrown their weight behind the call for grouse moor licensing in England. With a general election forthcoming, this unified support from various political parties signals that a change in approach towards wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship in the English uplands could be on the horizon.