The Scottish Gamekeepers Association welcomes the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee’s report on Stage One of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.
A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “In particular, we back the need for a more robust assessment of economic, social and environmental impacts of ending the exemptions from non-domestic rates for shootings and deer forests.
“Whilst supporting fully the principle of community empowerment, careful consideration has to be given to maintaining that which is currently a source of resilience in our present communities, particularly in fragile rural areas.
“Shootings and deer forests, which can operate on marginal profitability, currently provide valuable employment, youth opportunity, tourism and spin-off business as well as vital land management at minimum public cost.
“The benefits of this helps to keep families in our glens and communities alive, which is surely the agreed collective aim of land reform. Indeed, some communities which have purchased land have themselves realised that sporting potential assists their own economic viability.
“We are pleased the Committee has recognised the fundamental role these activities play in rural communities and agree Scottish Government needs to provide a more rigorous analysis of community and economic impacts if it is to justify the removal of exemptions which currently remain in place for many similar rural industries such as aquaculture, forestry and farming.”