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SACS Response To: BASC Findhorn Statement

SACS and wildfowlers response to BASC Scotland statement

SACS is disappointed to read BASC Scotland’s recent statement in regard to the ongoing battle to protect wildfowling on Findhorn Bay.

SACS Response To: BASC Findhorn Statement

In their statement, BASC Scotland directly implies that SACS and wildfowlers, including Findhorn Wildfowling & Conservation Association, are at fault in our decision to walk away from the proposed permit scheme, which is supported by BASC Scotland. BASC Scotland also implies that SACS did not respond to a significantly restrictive proposal put forward by Roy Dennis, the Chair of the Local Nature Reserve (LNR), and supported by BASC Scotland, which has now been enacted as a permit scheme. SACS did respond, robustly, and this statement by BASC Scotland is disingenuous, a misrepresentation of the truth and a direct attack against wildfowlers and SACS who worked hard towards a reasonable agreement, but were in the later stages secretly excluded from the process in favour of BASC Scotland and Roy Dennis’ own agenda.

Though SACS and wildfowlers have sought to work with all parties and, as evidenced in the communications in the attached document, have extended a warm hand to BASC Scotland, it is clear that we cannot go forward without clarity on the current situation.

This .PDF document comprises a series of communications relevant to the Findhorn issue and in defence of SACS’ and wildfowlers’ good conduct and committed defence of wildfowling interests.

BASC-affiliated club - Forres, Nairn & District Wildfowling Association, Findhorn Bay Wildfowling & Conservation Association and Ardersier & District Wildfowlers are fully supportive of this action. Sadly, we have been left with little alternative, but to state the hard facts.

1. Contrary to the BASC statement, SACS, FWCA, Ardersier & District and Forres, Nairn & District Wildfowling Association made a collective response to Moray Council rejecting the BASC-supported Roy Dennis LNR proposal on 13th June 2017. BASC Scotland were copied in. This communication (highlighted in the attached document) was unequivocal in its objection to the Roy Dennis LNR proposal. The terms of the proposal were not acceptable to all wildfowlers, including the BASC club, which is in full agreement with SACS. To suggest that SACS and wildfowlers did not respond to a request for feedback is simply a falsehood.

2. BASC club, Forres, Nairn & District Wildfowling Association reinforced the SACS and wildfowlers positon on 16th June, when it sent its own response wholly in support of our position. FNDWA was also clear in its objection to the proposal, an objection which BASC Scotland, its representative body, has chosen to ignore.

3. On 2nd August Findhorn Local Nature Reserve (LNR) formally launched their own voluntary permit scheme based on the detail of a proposal put forward by Roy Dennis that had been rejected by all wildfowlers, except BASC Scotland. SACS and the wildfowling clubs, including the BASC club FNDWA, knew nothing of this Permit Scheme until after the launch. In fact, it appears we were deliberately kept out of the loop from mid-June and that other LNR committee members were duped into thinking that Roy Dennis had the tacit support of wildfowlers simply because he had the ear of BASC Scotland, an organisation which is not representative of the majority of wildfowlers at Findhorn.

4. BASC Scotland have stated that they only became aware of the LNR Permit Scheme two days before launch on 2nd August 2017. However, SACS has been forwarded correspondence (shown in the attached document) which clearly shows that BASC Scotland was not only aware of the LNR Permit Scheme from at least 26th June 2017, but was asked to comment on the scheme and suggested format.

5. Though the terms of the LNR Permit Scheme were NOT approved by any wildfowlers, and the BASC-affiliated club FNDWA supports SACS in this assertion, BASC Scotland continues to promote and support a series of wildfowling restrictions not endorsed by its members or other wildfowlers. That is insupportable for a supposedly representative membership association.

6. Furthermore, the website hosting the permit applications is demonstrably unsecure and there are no safeguards in regard to internal data handling and who has access to shooter’s security sensitive information or external hacking. However, BASC Scotland continues to support this platform and request its members enter their shotgun certificate and personal details on an unsecure website. Were there to be an incident or a firearms theft as a result of this, the situation for the LNR, Moray Council and BASC Scotland would be challenging.

7. SACS’ request for the website permit pages to be removed has thus far been ignored. SACS continues to reinforce the guidance that no certificate holder should place their details on an unsecure platform. To insist otherwise would be irresponsible. However, BASC Scotland continues to deny there is an issue.

8. It has come to SACS’ attention that not only has Roy Dennis, the Chair of the LNR, gone beyond his own-stated remit and driven through, with BASC Scotland support, a Permit Scheme which has not been supported by wildfowlers, but the LNR Secretary, Mike Crutch, is an administrator on a secret anti-shooting Facebook group called ‘Findhorn Bay Goose Watch’. This page promotes obstruction of lawful wildfowling and the gathering of wildfowlers’ photographs and vehicle details to compile their own ‘database’. As Secretary to the LNR, which hosts the new permit application website pages, Mike Crutch will likely have access to the details of anyone applying for a permit. It is extraordinary that BASC Scotland continues to support this LNR Permit Scheme and the webpages.

9. SACS has reported this situation to Cabinet Secretaries Fergus Ewing and Roseanna Cunningham and, given the inability of the LNR and BASC Scotland to admit fault and remove the webpages, SACS will ask Police Scotland to investigate.

10. BASC Scotland director, Dr Colin Shedden, is on record as having stated that a permit scheme administered by the LNR would be insupportable. BASC Scotland is now promoting such a scheme administered by the LNR, which is populated by active anti-shooting elements.

As is demonstrated in the series of communications within the attached document, SACS has consistently sought to work with other parties, especially BASC Scotland.

Truth is in the reading and we have every confidence that those who take the time to read the communications can arrive at their own conclusion as to competent and effective member and wildfowling representation.

SACS continues to work toward a workable voluntary agreement, which was instigated by our, Martin Gauld’s and Peter Boulton’s endeavours and supported by Bob Mackay of BASC-affiliated FNDWA who, long before this recent Findhorn issue, has worked tirelessly for his members and wildfowling, despite latterly lacking support from his own representative body.

To go forward, we collectively demand the resignation of Roy Dennis and Mike Crutch, Chair and Secretary of Findhorn LNR and a formal retraction from BASC Scotland of the implication that SACS and wildfowlers are at fault. It is clear where the fault lies, though it is disappointing that we have been compelled to state this publicly when we have worked so intensively to present a united front for the shooting community.