No 10 adviser accused of ‘waging war on shooting’

A senior member of Theresa May’s policy team has been accused of launching a ‘war’ on field sports after meeting environmental campaigners at 10 Downing Street. 

Sir John Randall, who works inside the Number 10 policy unit, and is a key environmental adviser, spoke with campaigners who want to dramatically restrict firearms licences for those who want to shoot game birds. 

Also, the campaigners want to outlaw the use of lead shot, which they claim is dangerous to the health of people eating game birds. 

Findlay Wilde, pictured, lobbied the Sir John, who is a member of Theresa May's policy team, over the issue of shooting

Sir John Randall, left, met with environmental campaigner Findlay Wilde, right, at 10 Downing Street to discuss issues surrounding shooting grouse and the use of lead shot 

Mr Wilde posted correspondence following the meeting about hunting on his website which has angered pro-shooting Tory MPs who fear the government will 'declare war' on field sports

Mr Wilde posted correspondence following the meeting about hunting on his website which has angered pro-shooting Tory MPs who fear the government will ‘declare war’ on field sports

Sir John met with Findlay Wilde, and two other environmentalists, Josie Hewitt and Georgia Locock in November.

Mr Wilde runs a popular wildlife blog and wants shooters prosecuted if they kill birds of prey while out hunting. 

He updated his followers with details from the discussions from inside Number 10. 

On the issue of grouse shooting he wrote: ‘I personally take the issue of the continued illegal killing of birds of prey very seriously. It is of course something not exclusively associated with grouse moors and persecution also occurs elsewhere. It is high up on my agenda as it is totally unacceptable.

‘There are other environmentally harmful practices associated with some moorland practices that also need to be addressed. However there are positive signs within some elements of the shooting lobby that they now recognise that urgent changes in practice need to happen and a culture change is required to ensure that the criminal element is exposed and brought to the law.’

Sir John confirmed he is ‘proactively looking at’ measures to use evidence of illegal activity gathered on private land. He said it was something the Ministry of Justice, Home Office and police forces could look at this. 

He also confirmed that those who broke wildlife laws while on shoots could in future lose their firearms licences.

Sir John also confirmed he would be in favour of a complete ban on lead shot and could possibly introduce a levy on the ammunition to discourage its use. 

The former MP, who earns more than £77,000-a-year for his part-time role confirmed he raised some of the issues with environment secretary Michael Gove.  

According to The Telegraph, pro-field sports MPs are concerned by this development after her decision to abandon a commitment to allow a free vote on the reintroduction of fox hunting. 

One source said he feared this was ‘the Conservatives declaring war on shooting’. 

An MP suggested: ‘The hundreds of thousands of rural people involved in game shooting will be surprised that there are “concerns” about the industry at the centre of Government.’