The Glorious Twelfth, the traditional start of the grouse shooting season, is being hailed as a timely fillip for rural areas hit by foot-and-mouth.
Even though more than 60 per cent of the heather moorland breeding grounds are in affected areas, Defra, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has given permission for shoots to go ahead. Because August 12 was a Sunday, shooting will start today. The only restriction will be that events must be at least 3km from premises infected in the previous 30 days.
The Country Land and Business Association estimates that the decision to allow shoots could secure up to £12.5m for the rural economy. Oliver Harwood, a spokesman, said: "We are delighted Defra has adopted in their entirety the very stringent biosecurity measures we proposed. This means grouse moors will now be able to generate the income so vital for continued investment in moor management and the wider rural economy."
Grouse stocks this year are expected to be up by about 30 per cent, thanks in no small part to the fact that many footpaths were closed during the grouse breeding season.
Meanwhile, Cumbria has called in some famous names or namesakes, at least to tell the world that it is open for business despite the ravages of foot-and-mouth.
The Cumbria Tourist Board is using some ordinary people with famous names associated with the area like Defoe, Shelley and Wordsworth to head a campaign to bring visitors back to the Lake District.
Nicola Defoe, 20, from Bedfordshire, and 31-year-old Jason Shelley, a tax inspector from Twickenham, west London, are among those who will appear in the campaign.Reuse content