We held both of these meetings at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 20 June and 19 July 2018 respectively.
Our Group is continuing to make good progress in gathering evidence to support the recommendations we will be putting to Ministers, in due course, in response to our remit.
This meeting considered detailed presentations on two key issues:
- the use of medicated grit
- the use of muirburn
The use of medicated grit to reduce disease in red grouse (Trichostrongylus tenuis, a parasitic threadworm living in the gut of red grouse) has been of concern to grouse moor managers for a long time. We had two informative presentations covering reasons for the use of medicated grit through to its application in the field. The resulting discussion focused on the success of medicated grit in helping to produce a shootable surplus of red grouse and issues concerning its deployment: prescription practices, the use of trays, proximity of grit to water courses, ‘gritting holidays’ and concerns over the potential development of resistance in grouse populations.
The Group also had two presentations on muirburn summarising published papers, experimental findings and instances of wildfires as reported by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). The discussion on this topic included SNH targets for assessing favourable condition where grouse moors included protected sites and the use of remote sensing to detect the incidence of muirburn. A number of knowledge gaps were identified alongside questions over the effectiveness of the Muirburn Code.
This meeting focused on the framework for developing a questionnaire to be issued to key stakeholders. This involved both identifying the key stakeholders to be invited to take part and drafting questions to be included in the questionnaire. Each of the main topics being examined by the Group (raptor conservation and predation management, muirburn, medicated grit, mountain hares alongside regulation, licensing and Codes of Practice) are to be covered via a series of linked questions. The questionnaire will be issued to 58 stakeholders on 7 August 2018 with a deadline for return of 19 September 2018.
Professor Alan Werritty
Chairman, Grouse Moor Management Group
Telephone: 01896 661719
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