THE wildlife expert and TV presenter Chris Packham is set to appear at a grouse moor reform conference in Scotland.

The REVIVE coalition’s national conference will look at the issues surrounding grouse moor management in Scotland and ask whether the upcoming Wildlife Management & Muirburn (Scotland) Bill goes far enough to protect the environment.

Both Lorna Slater, the Minister for Biodiversity, and Gillian Martin, the Minister for Energy and the Environment, will give keynote addresses at the event.

Journalist, campaigner and National columnist Lesley Riddoch will also appear with various other figures from Scotland’s environmental sector, including RSPB’s head of investigations Ian Thomson and Ruth Tingay from Raptor Persecution UK, also set to speak.

Packham said he was thrilled to be involved in the discussion about how to change Scotland’s environment for the better.

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He said: “This conference comes at a crucial time for nature as the Scottish Parliament is deciding how to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis while grouse shooting continues to exacerbate both.

“Intensive grouse moor management is unsustainable and the Scottish Government seem genuine in their desire to end the killing of Scotland’s birds of prey – a crime commonly associated with grouse shooting.

“It’s encouraging that the Government is coming to the conference because they need to be bold in the face of an aggressive and brutal industry.

“I’m thrilled to join REVIVE to discuss how we can change the face of Scotland, for the better, for its people, wildlife and the environment.”

The National: Gamekeepers have faced criticism for the environmental impact of grouse moor managementGamekeepers have faced criticism for the environmental impact of grouse moor management (Image: submitted)

The proposed bill seeks to end the illegal persecution of birds of prey in Scotland, which have often been found shot or poisoned on driven grouse moor estates.

Under the legislation anyone using their land to shoot red grouse will have to apply for a licence, which can be declined or revoked if the owner’s are found to have breached animal welfare standards.

Licencing and training requirements for wildlife traps will also be introduced and the current licencing scheme for muirburn - the practice of burning old growth heather on moors to encourage higher grouse numbers - will be extended.

Gamekeepers claim the scheme will be “disastrous” for rural communities and that grouse shooting is the most economically lucrative use of space in Scotland’s uplands.

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But campaigners, including Packham, insist that licencing is necessary if the illegal persecution of birds of prey is to be stopped.

While more than 60 golden eagles have been illegally killed in Scotland since 1981 not a single person has ever been convicted in relation to their deaths – despite the majority of the birds being found poisoned on grouse moors.

Max Wiszniewski said it was an important time for people to discuss land use in Scotland.

“Chris Packham is an inspiration to millions of people and it’s fantastic to have him hosting REVIVE’s biggest ever event,” he said.

“Large grouse shooting estates still dominate large parts of Scotland for little economic return, at the expense of our wildlife and environment and this major national conference will be about how we change that to meet the aspirations and ambitions of our country.

“It’s never been more important and we’ve never been in a better place to make a difference.”

The conference takes place on November 12 at Perth Concert Hall. Tickets are available here.