SCOTLAND’S shooting estates could spearhead a post-covid economic revival in the countryside after not furloughing staff during the lockdown, according to regional moorland groups.
A survey of 32 estates found that only three gamekeepers had been furloughed and that no redundancies had been made.
All the estates said they plan to maintain staffing at current levels.
Lianne MacLennan, coordinator of the regional moorland groups, which carried out the survey, said: “Unlike some conservation or charity-run holdings, the surveyed estates in the main are not furloughing staff or cutting jobs and are continuing to support essential community businesses.
“These are the positives that can be taken from a difficult picture.
“Hopefully, if the country is safe enough to enable some visitors to come here, sporting businesses will play a major role in maintaining economic viability in remote parts of rural Scotland, as they always do.
“That will depend on public health, the safety of our communities and continued dialogue and sector backing from Scottish Government.”
During lockdown, gamekeepers and self-employed pest controllers have continued to kill crows, foxes and pigeons during lambing and crop planting to protect the food chain.
Gamekeepers have also helped firefighters to tackle large wildfires in Sutherland and the Central Belt.
The survey found that the 32 estates expect to lose a more than £8.5 million in total due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the average loss forecast to sit at close to £270,000.
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