ON the day Scotland’s grouse season ends, a new report has claimed the activity is the least economically effective alternative use of land, with an annual gross value added (GVA) of just £30 per hectare (ha).

The report – Back to Life – examines a range of other uses for the land, including biomass, solar power, agriculture and housing, all of which would produce far greater value.

If the land were used for other purposes, horticulture would return the greatest GVA at £12,412/ha, followed by housing (£11,950) and solar power (£10,952).

Horticulture, which currently uses 0.26% of Scotland’s land area, would create 7370 jobs, generate £261 million for the economy and would need 3ha to create one job.

By contrast, the report said grouse shooting, on the current land use area of 1.5 million ha (18% of land area), created 2640 jobs, had an annual economic impact of £32m and required 330ha to create just one job.

The Revive coalition, a group that wants to reform the use of grouse moors, commissioned the report produced by think tank Common Weal and research and design collective Lateral North.

It said almost a fifth of Scotland’s land is kept barren for the sole purpose of maximising the number of red grouse – so they can be killed for sport. Debates continue to rage about the rights and wrongs of killing animals for sport and ownership of Scotland’s land being concentrated in too few hands, but the grouse moor owners say there is no alternative use and bloodsports is the only economic activity that can be sustained.

However, Revive said the conclusion of its report was simple: “Of all the possible uses of this land, grouse shooting is not only the least moral, it is by far the least economically effective. In fact, almost any other use will create more value and more jobs per hectare.”

Campaign manager, Max Wiszniewski, said the report puts the economic contribution of grouse moors into perspective: “Back to Life brings together a number of alternative visions for Scotland’s moors which initiates a brand new discussion about the way land is used in Scotland. Intensively managed grouse moors and their toxic by-products are not only immoral and bad for the environment, but as a land use they are economically ineffective considering how much the land they use up, often require generous subsidies.

“The Back to Life project does an excellent job of putting their inadequacies into perspective versus the many other more effective options for communities to choose from.

“The point is that these options exist and it’s up to us all to be ambitious for our people, our communities, our environment and our wildlife.”

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association did not respond to The National’s request for comment.

Shooting and Countryside Sports UK said they were unable to comment immediately.