top of page

The Heather Trust has been advised by Scottish Land & Estates today (12 July) that they are urging you to delay submitting your grouse shoot licence application, pending resolution of a legal issue. Updates to follow in due course.

NatureScot has this week confirmed that the licensing scheme for grouse shooting in Scotland will go live on Monday 15 July 2024.

We were recently assured by NatureScot that licence applications will be processed in time for the start of the 2024 grouse season and we sincerely hope there is no hold up in that process.

It is worth noting that it is a requirement in the Wildlife Management & Muirburn (Scotland) Act 2024 that a licence holder 'must have regard' to the associated code of practice. Non-adherence to the requirements set out in the forthcoming code could result in a licensing sanction.

NatureScot will publish a finalised version of the statutory code of practice for grouse moor management on 12 July 2024. The latest and near-finalised draft can be viewed here: Guidance - Draft Code of Practice for Grouse Moor Management | NatureScot

A ‘six steps for licensing’ guide has been prepared by NatureScot and can be viewed here: Red grouse and licensing | NatureScot to enable all applicants to be prepared for what should be a straightforward process.


The final version of the Code of Practice for grouse moor management is now live on the NatureScot website:

All holders of (section 16AA) licences to kill / take grouse in Scotland will be expected to 'have regard' to the code of practice. It is therefore recommended that all licence holders (and those advising on or managing land for grouse shooting) are familiar with and understand the contents of the code. 

The Wildlife Management & Muirburn (Scotland) Act 2024 requires that a licence holder comply with the Grouse Code. Non-adherence to the requirements set out in the Grouse Code could result in a licensing sanction and/or suspension or revocation.

The Grouse Code will be subject to formal review on a five-yearly basis to ensure it reflects the most up-to-date legislative requirements, guidance and best practice. Updates can be made within the review period where necessary. For example, in the case of the introduction of new legislation which has a bearing on the Code.

Further details on the (section 16AA) licence for land which may be used to kill or take red grouse is also available. The on-line application for applying for a licence will go live at 9am on Monday 15th July. 


The UK nature conservation bodies alongside the UK national historic advisory bodies have now published revised guidance on bracken management on the NatureScot website.

The conversations continue on how we effectively manage this dominant species, which can have detrimental impacts on human and animal health and wider biodiversity.

In light of the asulox ban, it is now more important than ever to keep up the momentum with research and innovation to bring appropriate, workable solutions to the many landscapes and livelihoods that are impacted. If you missed our recent bracken webinar with Simon Thorp, you can catch it again at the bottom of this page.

The publication of the guidance precedes a stakeholder survey planned for this autumn.

The full statement circulated by Scottish Government is below.

With the herbicide Asulox no longer available to treat bracken, there was a need to update best practice guidance on bracken management, which was previously heavily weighted towards chemical treatment.

The UK nature conservation bodies, (Natural England, NatureScot, DAERA Northern Ireland, Natural Resources Wales) and the UK national historic advisory bodies, (Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Communities Northern Ireland and Cadw) commissioned revised guidance on bracken management, which has now been published on the NatureScot website:

This preliminary guidance promotes best practice in bracken management across the UK and will be updated as further information emerges. It contains information on the range of different manual and mechanised treatment methods available with associated example case study information. A Bracken Management Plan template has also been included, to help land managers plan and monitor bracken treatment over a five year period.


To view blog posts prior to January 2021, please visit:

bottom of page