How does shooting grouse for fun connect with the misery of having your home or business flooded?
It’s no coincidence that the constituency that has provided the most signatures for our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting is the Calder Valley (Craig Whittaker MP, 762 signatures). Calder Valley has been flooded several times in recent years and local residents believe that the recent floods have been caused or exacerbated by increasing intensity of moorland management of the moors above the town for grouse shooting (see Wuthering Moors 52, 5 January 2016).
Burned heather moorlands shed water quickly in heavy rains – and that water heads downhill. Heather burning is done to increase the amount of young heather (by burning off old heather) to encourage unnaturally high densities of Red Grouse that can be shot for sport. A day’s grouse shooting can earn the grouse moor owner several thousand pounds. A flooded town can cost its residents tens of millions of pounds.
George Monbiot has written about this issue – This flood was not only foretold, it was publicly subsidised, 29 December 2015).
The downstream impacts of intensive moorland management for the hobby of shooting grouse for fun are largely ignored by the shooting industry and the Conservative Party. Will the Calder Valley’s MP, Craig Whittaker, be speaking up for his oft-flooded constituents in the expected Westminster Hall debate on the future of grouse shooting?
And will other Conservative MPs, keen on shooting, be addressing this issue of how the sport for the few can affect the lives of the many?