The SNP has pledged to introduce grouse moor licensing in Scotland to strengthen wild animal welfare and restore the nation’s vast upland landscape.

In its
2021 manifesto, Scotland’s ruling party has made clear that it remains “committed to implementing licensing of driven grouse shooting”, a move which the government is expected to move forward with shortly.

Rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon MSP said there needs to be “greater oversight” of the practices associated with grouse moor management and that self-regulation by the owners had not achieved the kind of step change needed.

Luke Steele, Executive Director of Wild Moors, said:

“For many grouse moors it would seem that damaging the environment and persecuting wildlife remains a price worth paying to produce large numbers of game birds for sports shooting. But these practices shouldn’t pay and shoots implicated in them should not be allowed to continue operating.

“We strongly welcome the SNP’s support for grouse moor licensing. Now is the time to significantly reform the country’s ecologically-restrictive, outdated grouse moors to restore the full suite of wildlife and habitats to our uplands.”

Grouse moor licensing provides a framework to migrate the uplands from an ecologically-degraded landscape to a healthy and functioning environment.

By compelling landowners and managers to restore carbon-rich peatlands which have been damaged by a programme of burning and draining lasting many decades, grouse moor licensing is central to delivering nature’s recovery.

It also presents a unique opportunity to address the ongoing wave of wildlife crime, including prolific bird of prey persecution, which presents a major threat to biodiversity.

Luke Steele adds:

“We are encouraged by Scotland’s decision to license grouse moors to tackle the degradation of upland landscapes, wildlife and habitats and call on Westminster to now do the right thing by making a similar pledge.”


Notes for editors:

See here to find out more about environmental damage and here for more about wildlife persecution on grouse moors.

For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Moors on

Wild Moors campaigns to unlock an area of uplands the size of Greater London from grouse shooting for nature restoration by 2030. By working with communities, companies and governments to solve challenges facing the upland environment Wild Moors acts as a catalyst for creating effective and lasting change.

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