Country Sports South West is an initial three year project to ensure that the South West region, which is renowned for its unique landscape and countryside, becomes the premier tourism destination for country sports and celebrated for its local game and fish. The new project also aims to improve the visitor experience and participation in country sports while creating sustainable rural tourism businesses which can respond to the future challenges and exploit new opportunities.
Key statistics reveal how important the country sports economy is, especially for the South West: Shooting alone is worth £1.6 billion per year to the UK economy and the economic contribution of sporting shooting for the South West is worth £270m (2006 research). The economic activity generated by angling in England and Wales (based on 2009 research) is estimated to be worth about a billion pounds. For the South West, anglers' annual expenditure on fishing inland waters totalled approximately £100 million.
This project is part of the Rural Development Programme for England project (RDPE) (jointly funded by the EU and Defra) in partnership with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and The Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT).
BASC is the UK's largest shooting organisation. It provides a public voice for shooting and conservation and works with all political parties to achieve balanced representation. BASC works with the Regional Development Agency to implement sustainable habitat and wildlife management in accordance with the Rural Development Programme for England and campaigns on issues affecting shooting and conservation in South West England and across the UK. We defend private firearms ownership and use, promote habitat and sustainable quarry population management and encourage access to shooting and best practice in the field. BASC South West has a dedicated education programme to ensure our new and Young Shot members receive a comprehensive grounding before entering the shooting field.
WRT is an environmental charity (Charity No: 1135007) established in 1995 to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of the rivers, streams, watercourses and water impoundments in the Westcountry and to advance the education of the public in the management of water. A cornerstone of our philosophy is working in partnership with external individuals and organisations to share expertise and facilitate better information transfer.
By collaborating with a whole range of stakeholders - ranging from individual businesses through to academic institutions, Non Governmental Organisations and Government departments - the trust aims to circumvent sectoral interests and encourages joint solutions to the complex environmental problems our society currently faces.
This project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas. In England, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development 2007-2013 is delivered through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It is an important part of the Common Agricultural Policy and helps create genuinely sustainable farming, forestry and food sectors, while bringing wider benefits for the economy, the environment and rural communities. It is the European Union's major investment route for protecting and enhancing the environment while securing a range of public benefits for society. Defra is the managing authority of this project.