A Mid-Wales AM has demanded immediate action from the Welsh Government to 'safeguard the future of field sports' such as shooting and angling in Wales.

Neil Hamilton, UKIP Party Spokesman for Rural Affairs and the Environment, says he is urging authorities to think again following a National Resources Wales decision not to renew leases for shooting pheasants on public land from March 2019.

Mr Hamilton has warned the decision to ban shooting could have serious implications for jobs and the environment in Wales.

"Shooting contributes about £75 million to the Welsh Economy every year and is vital to the survival of many small and medium sized businesses, especially in remote areas and during the winter months," he said.

"It supports the equivalent of 2,400 full time jobs and large land areas in Wales benefit from shoot management, with shooters and game keepers undertaking a huge amount of conservation work every year.

"I have received hundreds of messages from constituents throughout Mid & West who, in the light of moves against shooting, angling and now trail hunting, feel the very essence of country life is under assault from Welsh Government.

"The people of rural Wales want assurances that that there will be no move further to tighten restrictions on pheasant shooting in Wales and that the recent decision to ban shooting on public land will be reviewed."

"It is clear that political pressure from the Environment Minister, and lobbying by animal rights groups, forced NRW Board to change its views. I am now urging the Government urgently to review the recent decision to ban shooting on public land."

In September the Welsh Government announced it would not support the breeding of the gamebirds on government-owned estates and applications for firearms use for other sports, such as clay pigeon shooting would be considered on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.

The decision by NRW to ban shooting on public land had been welcomed by animal rights groups including the League Against Cruel Sports, who said the decision reflected strong opposition from the public to shooting on public land.

“Natural Resources Wales is to be commended in the strongest terms for ensuring pheasant shooting in the Welsh national forest is being brought to an end," said Bethan Collins, Senior Public Affairs Officer (Wales) at League Against Cruel Sports.

"This outcome reflects strong opposition to the practice from the Welsh Government, 74% of the public who oppose shooting birds for sport and an urgent need to reverse damage to wildlife and the environment on the public estate."