An end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor

Bradford Council Labour group voted overwhelmingly last night not to renew the grouse-shooting lease on Ilkley Moor. Result!

The Labour group (48 councillors) holds a majority on the Council (89 councillors in all) and the move to end grouse shooting is also supported by the LibDems (10 councillors) and Greens (3 councillors).  This makes it certain that the lease will be terminated and the matter does not have to go to a full council meeting (but if it does, the the votes are there for a ban).

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor said ‘Bradford Council’s decision tonight not to renew grouse shooting rights for Ilkley Moor is to be commended in the highest terms. It reflects the urgent need to reverse wildlife decline, habitat degradation and public dismay which has overshadowed this treasured moorland since grouse shooting was introduced in 2008. 

We thank all of those who have relentlessly pursued an end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor – the strong cross-party representation of Parish and District Councillors, regional MPs including John Grogan, Alex Sobel, Judith Cummins and Naz Shah, visitors to the moor and conservation groups. This is as much a victory for them as it is for the precious wildlife and habitat. Our efforts will now turn to reversing the terrible legacy of grouse shooting on the moor in pursuit of a first-class asset for the region, which promotes wildlife biodiversity, education, leisure and the local economy.’.

Congratulations to all involved in this campaign which has persuaded local politicians to put an end to grouse shooting on this area of public land.




35 Replies to “An end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor”

  1. Such wonderful and encouraging news to wake-up to. It proves the worth of both diligence and truth used against the grouse shooting hobby, a hobby that constantly uses falsehood to defend the indefensible.

  2. This has cheered me up no end! A public body that can see sense and do the right thing! So come on politicians…. now you know how to improve the well-being, health and productivity of a huge proportion of the population at a stroke! More please!

  3. Well done to all concerned – a rare and well deserved victory looks imminent!
    If only the NT in the Peak District had taken the same decision…..
    Fancy that, Bradford Council will be more conservation minded than a national so-called conservation NGO!
    Looks as if we all can learn from the direct action, high profile campaigning style adopted by Luke and his group.

  4. Amongst all the celebrations, is it not now time for the Labour leadership to take a lead from four of its own MPs and start to fight hard for an end to bloodsports in this country.
    It should also look hard at the photo you have published. Thank god for our youth.

    The people (activists and extremists) are starting to be heard.
    Wonderful news.

    1. Totally agree with all of this, Paul – I have passed on to my (Labour) MP for her info – to be fair, she was concerned enough about the subject to buy a copy of Inglorious at the time of the parliamentary debate.

  5. Fantastic. That photo say’s a lot about young people, progress, hope etc. How far did the lad with the skateboard get before regretting his decision to bring it?

    1. Person in centre obviously concerned about death, burial, consumption by worms and ducks unless a hoodie is worn.

        1. ”What a strange and totally irrelevant comment, or is it meant to be in some way humerus?”

          Ulna comment because this exchange is way above me cranium.

  6. Fanbloodytastic , well done everybody including labour councillors , take note SNP. And what a wonderful photo, as said above thank God for our young people. Just hope this is given Media coverage but I doubt it somehow.
    Congratulations,now lets keep up the fight.

  7. This is not the end, but it could be the beginning of the end, for Grouse Shooting. Well done All.

  8. Excellent news and sorry to cast a shadow, BUT….. This is not the endpoint, rather the beginning. With LA and govt agency budgets under huge pressure, is there a plan about how these moorlands will now be managed, by whom, who will pay and how will the presumed loss of income from the shooters be mitigated? It should be borne in mind that better management for flood risk should pay dividends in the long run – probably significantly outweighed by the income from shooters, but that sort of figure is part of ecosystem services (putting a monetary figure on benefits from the ecosystem), which ‘we’ don’t seem to have fully accepted yet. I hope these points are part of a bigger plan and not something akin to the Brexit vote… duh, never expected that, what do we do now?

    1. Do they need managed? I’m sure they need watched, to prevent people abusing them (unlicensed shooting, wildlife crime of various stripes, mountain biking ruining the place) but apart from that can we not just leave them be. Let the land and the wildlife recover under its own steam.

      1. Some degree of management will be needed, even if it’s only to stop the moor turning into dense scrub (unless that’s the intention) or to repair damage done by intensive management for game bird shooting. There also needs to be due regard to fire risk during drought conditions if there is little or no management. If the intention is to improve the peat and ecosystem generally for more effective flood management and climate change impacts (much of the Pennine moorland has been badly affected by atmospheric pollution for a couple of centuries), and even for more pleasant access, it all comes at a price. Note the interesting comment from Carole down the page saying the shoot only paid £10k pa and local volunteers do much of the work, so that’s good news.

        1. Scrub is a necessary part of natural regeneration and a valuable habitat in its own right.

  9. I gather that the CA have already attacked the decision stating “They (the council) need to ask why the views of wealthy BBC presenters like Chris Packham and animal rights activists from across the country have been prioritised over local wildlife and local people.” A singularly inept comment which will only backfire on them given that the high profile backers of grouse shooting all appear to be billionaires and/or landowning grandees like hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, the Duke of Westminster, Viscount Ridley and baronet Sir John Scott. They also ignore the strong local campaign against grouse shooting but I guess mere serfs don’t count!

  10. This is where the likes of the CA/BASC/NGO etc will up their campaigns against people like yourself, Mark and Chris Packham. Batten down the hatches. Well done to all involved, though!

  11. Such great news, though I’d be really interested to hear about reactions from the pro-shooting folks.

  12. Hearty congratulations(!) to the Labour Group on Bradford City Council:-)

    A pity, then, that the Labour Group on Oxford City Council (the home of ‘Lord’ Adonis:-(, although split, managed to vote against upholding a Planning Inspector’s ruling to strictly limit the environmental impact of vastly increased rail traffic (a Carillion project too, no less!). Southern wimps?

    Read the Conservative Group’s, Countryside Alliance’s and BASC reactions to the Bradford Labour Group vote here:

    “a tragedy for conservation” and “We know … that the end of grouse shooting leads to calamitous wildlife decline”

  13. I have lived in the shadow of Ilkley Moor for 25 years plus. Unfortunately the council owned land is only a relatively small part of the overall moor and shooting will be continuing on the rest. The shooting syndicate only paid £10,000pa for the lease and got a considerable sum from grant bodies which they spent on their own land not Ilkley Moor. The Friends of Ilkley Moor do a lot of voluntary maintenance in conjunction with the council and this will probably increase now the shooting has gone. Don’t believe all the twisted propaganda the Bingley Moor syndicate put out. Most, if not all, of them are not local either. I was somewhere in that photo above. The land now owned by Bradford Council was originally bought off the land owner over a hundred years ago by local contributions so that the people of the Ilkley area could have access to the moor without being shot at. It should never have been handed over for grouse shooting in 2008 – a scandal. Not to mention the pollution and flooding down in the Wharfe valley that burning and draining has exacerbated in recent years. The local campaign was local not just about Chris Packham, Bill Oddie et al – they just helped. The shooters should stop trying to paint us locals as animal welfare extremists – we just wanted control of our moor back in public hands and our wildlife safe. End of rant!

    1. Wonderful news for that section of moorland. Well done! Many campaigning here in Scotland for an end to driven grouse shooting and the persecution of birds of prey and the massacre of our beautiful
      Mountain Hares which are considered as “pests”by the shooting lobby. We ask visitors to come and observe and enjoy our wildlife and not to kill it!

    2. “The land now owned by Bradford Council was originally bought off the land owner over a hundred years ago by local contributions so that the people of the Ilkley area could have access to the moor without being shot at.”

      Key point. Well won back and thanks Carole.

  14. I think this is wonderful and would love to be a fly on the wall at either the CA or in a particular office in Tadcaster today. May I also say that as a life long birder, naturalist and photographer that whilst I wish to see an end to driven grouse shooting and the control or stopping of the mass release of alien Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges I would be equally disappointed to see all shooting go.

  15. This is great news – I’m local to this moor and have been hoping for this decision. But people should be aware of what a small victory this is. Unfortunately the council-owned area known as Ilkley Moor is a fairly small area – about 4km by 2km, only the southern half of which was used for shooting. Ilkley Moor is less than a quarter of Rombalds Moor, and most of the grouse butts are on the privately owned land which surrounds it on three sides, where shooting will presumably continue. Map showing ownership here:
    Nature restoration on little Ilkley Moor, including predators, is unlikely to work if persecution continues on the larger private area on three sides of it. Anyway, it’s a step forward, so well done Luke Steele and all the campaigners.

  16. so will any of the above lead the way by putting their hand in there pocket and pull out some substantial amounts of money to maintsin the moor and rare ground nesting birds. Will Chris Packham Mark Avery and the Labour Councillors lead the way by personally funding the up keep of the moor rather than it fslling on the tax payer. Time will tell weather this was the right decision or not when ior as with Labours Hunting Act it was all about class and party politics abd not about wdlife.

  17. And will Mark Avery Chris Packham and each Labour. Lib Dem and Green Councillor state publicially exactly how much they will personally cough up.with out resulting to crowd.funding to deliver the funds now needed to manage the private investment required to manage the moor.

    The reason the NT have given 5 year license for grouse shooting in the high peaks on the moor they own is.becsuse they rise above party politics and the class warfare of.the likes.of Mark Avery and Chris Packham rhe bigger conseevation picrure the benefits of shoiting brings not the endless social media campaigns Mark Avery and Chria Packham who are.loud in.words but despitw.being wealthy give no money for practical conservation.

    1. You must be joking! This was a campaign led by locals against the councillors who had voted to allow DGS to take place. That decision was a betrayal of local people and now justiuce has been done. This battle was won by local people against those who paid a pittance for shooting rights and made a packet from it!

      Restring moorland doesn’t require lots of money! You don’t have to burn heather and kill predators or any animal that might inconvenience the grouse and the hunters. You don’t have to pay gamekeepers to slaughter any bird or mammal that threatens your profits.

      recent studies have shown that burning moorland apart from inconveneincing local people and putting Britain to shame for its lack of care for the environment reduces the wildlife. Waders have declined also on grouse moors as you well know because burning dries out the moors and reduces botanical diversity and kills the invertegrates waders’ chicks need. Shooting peregrine falcons, goshawks, harriers also hardly increases biodiversity. Grouse moors, increasingly intensively managed are biolgical deserts manged to produce unnatural numbers of grouse to the detriment of other native birds.

      You have been found out, and my hope is that even the support you have from the wealthy and the well-connected will avail you naught!

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