Monday, 21 December 2020

Update on Coronavirus Restrictions From 26th December 2020

 

Following the announcement from the First Minister the following guidance will be in place for the Scottish Mainland and the Ise of Skye as they will be moving to Level 4. The Scottish Islands will move to Level 3

What does this mean for our members?

As of Saturday 26th December 2020 People living in Level 3 or Level 4 areas MUST NOT travel out of their local authority area, except for certain essential purposes. (to check your Level please use the following link https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/) Also , people living elsewhere in Scotland MUST NOT travel into Level 3 or Level 4 areas, except for essential purposes.

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK

To suppress the spread of COVID-19 it is essential that, with limited exceptions, there is no travel to or from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus.

On 20 November travel restrictions were put into law.

If people dont abide by the travel restrictions, there is a risk that the virus will spread to areas where it is less common and we may have to return to national restrictions.

People who live in a Level 3 or 4 local authority area in Scotland are now required to stay in that area unless they have a reasonable excuse to travel, such as work, education, or welfare reasons.

Travelling around Scotland

If you live or work anywhere where there are protective measures in place – at whatever level – you should not travel to another area to avoid them.

If you live in a Level 4 local authority area you must, by law, remain within that area unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) you should also keep journeys within the area to an absolute minimum if you have to travel for essential purposes, you should follow the guidance on travelling safely.

If you live in a Level 3 local authority area you must, by law, remain within that area unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) if you have to travel for essential purposes, you should follow the guidance on travelling safely

You can find out which parts of Scotland are in Levels 3 and 4 via the postcode checker  https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

Under current Scottish law, given the state of the epidemic in those countries, unless you have a reasonable excuse (see exceptions) you must not travel between Scotland and:

England

Northern Ireland

Wales

County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland

Jersey

However, we continue to advise against all but essential travel at this time.

You should be aware that rules may apply in those places that may restrict your ability to enter or travel within each country, or which may require you to self-isolate for a period of time after your arrival or return from the UK. Please check any restrictions that may be in place in your destination before you travel. https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/

Recreational shooting activities including target shooting, game shooting, deer stalking and wildfowling would NOT be an essential purpose for travel.

Shooting related work such as beating and picking-up on shoot days; essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock would be an essential purpose to travel.  Pest control activities would be as follows: Shooting or trapping of pest bird species under general licence, management of rodents and rabbits; deer management as part of a plan agreed with and requested by the landowner. Also game management or gamekeeping activities such as looking after game birds, habitat management and pest/predator control.

Members in Level 4 need to be aware of the following change.

As of Saturday 26th December 2020 shooting will No longer be exempt from socialising restrictions in Level 4 areas.  This means that shooting activities may only take place with up to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 2 households.

For Levels 3

In Level 3 multi-person shoots will be able to continue providing they follow the Covid-19 guidance framework for country sports https://countrysportscotland.com/framework-of-appropriate-covid-19-precautions-for-country-sports-updated-october-2020.

However, persons living in Level 3 areas will not be permitted to travel to other Level areas for any purpose other than essential purposes, which does not include organised shooting sports.

We will be updating this guidance as and when we get new information from the Scottish Government so please keep an eye on the website and social media site for updated information.

Should our members have any other queries or require a Risk Assessment Template please do not hesitate to contact the office and they will endeavour to assist you.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Update on Coronavirus Restrictions From 11th December 2020 As of 6PM

 

While there have been changes to those in Level 4 will be moving to Level 3 as of Friday 11th December so the restrictions below will apply in Level 3 Areas.

What does this mean for our members?

As of Friday 20th November People living in Level 3 or Level 4 areas MUST NOT travel out of their local authority area, except for certain essential purposes. (to check your tier please use the following link https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/) Also , people living elsewhere in Scotland MUST NOT travel into Level 3 or Level 4 areas, except for essential purposes.

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK

Restrictions and advice on what you can do and where you can travel are also in place within England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The current Scottish Government guidance, given the state of the epidemic across the UK is that people avoid any unnecessary travel between Scotland and England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

This applies to people who live in Scotland and to people who live elsewhere in the UK who are thinking of coming to Scotland.

This may change as the virus spreads or is suppressed in different areas, and as the rules and guidance in place there change. Please check the Scottish Government website before starting any journey. 

If you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the guidance on travelling safely which can be found via the following link https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-travel-and-transport/.

Recreational shooting activities including target shooting, game shooting, deer stalking and wildfowling would NOT be an essential purpose for travel.

Shooting related work such as beating and picking-up on shoot days; essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock would be an essential purpose to travel.  Pest control activities would be as follows Shooting or trapping of pest bird species under general licence, management of rodents and rabbits; deer management as part of a plan agreed with and requested by the landowner. Also game management or gamekeeping activities such as looking after game birds, habitat management and pest/predator control.

Members in Tier 4 need to be aware of the following change.

As of Friday 20th November shooting will No longer be exempt from socialising restrictions in Level 4 areas.  This means that shooting activities may only take place with up to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 2 house holds.

For Levels 1, 2 and 3

In Levels 1, 2 and 3 multi-person shoots will be able to continue providing they follow the Covid-19 guidance framework for country sports https://countrysportscotland.com/framework-of-appropriate-covid-19-precautions-for-country-sports-updated-october-2020.

However, persons living in Level 3 areas will not be permitted to travel to other Level areas for any purpose other than essential purposes, which does not include organised shooting sports.

Persons from Level 1 and 2 areas will be able to travel to other Level 1 and 2 areas, including travelling through Level 3 or 4 areas to get to their destination.

We will be updating this guidance as and when we get new information from the Scottish Government so please keep an eye on the website and social media site for updated information.

Should our members have any other queries or require a Risk Assessment Template please do not hesitate to contact the office and they will endeavour to assist you.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 3 December 2020

WANT TO SAVE MOUNTAIN HARES? TRANSLOCATE FROM GROUSE MOORS


Gamekeepers are advocating a conservation plan to save the mountain hare which would see the native mammals translocated from grouse moors to areas which have lost viable populations.

The countryside workers believe grouse estates could act as donors of live trapped hares which could be used to rebuild populations where land use change has shrunk their range.

This summer Scottish Parliament voted to protect the mountain hare and end all management of the species, unless under specific licences.

Gamekeepers previously managed populations in the open season to reduce disease and tick numbers and to protect habitats. Organised hare shoots also brought money to the local economy and food for the food chain.

Land managers are now in discussions with Scottish Government about how a licensing system may operate but believe licensed translocations should be on the table in talks, alongside lethal control options.

Species translocations have been used successfully in conservation with donor beavers from the Tay this week building their first dams in Exmoor for 400 years.

Pine martens, Capercaillie and Sea Eagles have all seen UK populations bolstered at various times through translocation.

Mountain hares are currently in unfavourable status but latest research shows grouse moors can contain populations up to 35 times higher than non-managed moors.

Whilst gamekeepers believe full protection is not the solution for hare conservation, they feel the surfeit of hares on grouse moors could be used positively to help expand the species’ shrunken Scottish range elsewhere.

“Our opposition to the Parliament’s decision is well known, especially if conservation was the principal purpose. However, politicians decided, so it’s time to move on," said Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman, Alex Hogg.

“Traditionally, hares were managed on moors when their numbers got very high.

“One consequence of that population reduction was that the remaining hares were healthy and less susceptible to die-off events from the close spread of the gut parasites which they are highly susceptible to, although this was experienced on Perthshire and Donside grouse moors when deep snow made management impossible and hares died in big numbers.

“Obviously, hare management is no longer an option, unless through lethal control under licence. Instead of culling as the only option- and the environment NGOs made their views clear on this- why not use a quota of these hares from the remaining core grouse moor areas to expand the hare range in places which used to have them but no longer do because the management, or mismanagement, shrunk their habitat? It would also lessen the chance of hares dying off from disease.

“If the point of protection is conservation, this should be roundly supported. It would also avoid a similar scenario to beavers which were protected, then campaigners opposed them being legally killed, in number, under licence.”

Gamekeepers believe the mountain hare faces more threats now, since protection was announced, because of Climate Emergency mitigations.

Scottish Government has increasing annual targets for subsidised tree planting but mountain hares eat young trees, and new plantings will squeeze their already contracting range.

“The loss of the hare’s preferred habitat through afforestation and regeneration has been continuous over decades. That will get worse," added Mr Hogg.

“There will be a need to cull more hares under licence, as a response to climate concerns, and encroachment onto their habitat will increase as more areas are planted or re-stocked. This is why translocating a quota of hares to areas which want them, and previously sustained them, will make them more resilient generally.

“It is entirely wrong that gamekeepers should be associated negatively with mountain hares when they have managed populations for centuries and still have more hares than anyone else. 

“This is an opportunity for grouse moors to be positively associated with their improved conservation status, something which the Parliament desires.”