Press release by Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor
On the eve of a key decision which could spell the end for grouse shooting on Yorkshire’s iconic beauty spot Ilkley Moor, Naz Shah MP (Bradford West) has joined some of the region’s most prominent politicians in giving her backing to ending the practice on Ilkley Moor. Others to have lent their support include MPs John Grogan (Lab, Keighley & Ilkley), Judith Cummins (Lab, Bradford South), Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) and a strong cross-party representation of Parish and District Councillors. Bradford’s Labour Councillors are set to vote tonight on whether to renew the controversial grouse shooting license.
Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM), which is lobbying Bradford Council to bring an end to grouse shooting, notes that wildlife has tanked on the local authority’s watch as a result of intensive grouse moor management. Over half of protected breeding bird species have declined or become locally extinct on Ilkley Moor, government figures collated by the RSPB Northern England office show. The wildlife crash, which has negatively impacted on the moor’s population of specialist species, including Merlin, Dunlin and Short Eared Owl, could result in the loss of the site’s conservation designations if declines continue.
Naz Shah MP (Labour, Bradford East) says: “I support the campaign to end the shooting of grouse on Ilkley Moor, a practice which is damaging bio-diversity, destroying precious blanket peat bog and contributing to flooding in the valley bottoms.”
Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBIM, comments: “With over half of specialist breeding birds suffering decline or local extinction on Ilkley Moor on Bradford Council’s watch, it is clear that licensing of grouse shooting by the local authority has been a conservation calamity. We urge Bradford’s Labour Councillors to do the right thing and follow every other moorland owning-council in the country by voting to ending grouse shooting on public land tonight.”
Bradford Council is the last local authority in the UK to allow grouse shooting to take place on public moorland. Others, including the Peak District National Park Authority and Sheffield Council, already prohibit the practice on their upland estates, having previously allowed it, and now maintain the land using other methods.
During a recent consultation on the future management of Ilkley Moor, the largest number of submissions received by the local authority on any single topic urged an end to grouse shooting. Other backers of ending grouse shooting include Bradford Council’s conservation partners, Friends of Ilkley Moor, Bill Oddie OBE, Chris Packham and Nick Miles.