Scotland’s long road to land reform must begin to make traction if the country is going to meet its climate obligations and if it is going to meet international norms around democratic control of resources and power in the country. Our response to the recent Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation consultation lays out our broader principles around land reform as do our policy papers Our Land (2021), A Mosaic of Life (2021), Work the Land (2021) and Back to Life (2018).
Our paper Back To Life in particular lays out our preferred solution with regards to land currently used for grouse shooting. As an organisation, we object on principle to the concept of bloodsports and have shown that from an economic standpoint driven grouse shooting is, on average across Scotland, a loss-making enterprise kept solvent only via cross-subsidies from sheep and other activities on the land. Almost any other use of Scotland’s land – including “doing nothing” by means of rewilding – would have a greater and more positive impact on Scotland’s land, environment and economy.
However, this consultation takes a much more limited and deals only with the licencing and regulation of grouse shooting. We have chosen to engage with this consultation not to endorse the practice or merely seek to improve it but because we see this proposed licencing as a transitional step towards the ending of the practice in Scotland – either via a ban or by simply making grouse shooting uneconomical compared to other uses of Scotland’s land.
Common Weal is a member organisation of the REVIVE Coalition although this response is submitted independently of and distinct from the response from the Coalition.