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, Director of Wild Moors, said:



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:

Wild Moors works with communities, governments and companies to unlock moorland from grouse shooting for the conservation of wildlife and habitats.

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