Bradford Council has unveiled a public consultation on whether grouse shooting should be allowed to continue on Ilkley Moor, after its current license expires in June 2018. The process forms part of the Council’s new vision for Ilkley Moor, which seeks to deliver a future based on “sustainable, quality management”.
Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor, which has lobbied the Council for an end to grouse shooting, has welcomed the launch. Campaigners say the significant harm which is being caused to the moor’s wildlife, habitat and local economy has been a recurring theme since shooting rights were leased in 2008. This includes rare peatland habitat being damaged by heather burning, drainage and the construction of shooting butts. All of these have contributed to flooding in the valley below. Wildlife biodiversity has also decreased and birds of prey are no longer breeding on the moor.
“There is only one way to manage moorland for grouse shooting and that’s through burning and draining precious habitat, at the cost of our region’s wildlife and natural flood barrier. This negative impact, which harms Ilkley Moor and the local economy, has been a recurring theme since Bradford Council issued a shooting license in 2008,” says Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor. “We welcome this opportunity for those who use the moor and have an interest in upland conservation to help shape a better, brighter future.”
Bradford Council is the last local authority in the UK to allow grouse shooting on public land. Others, including Sheffield City Council and Peak District National Park Authority, already prohibit the practice on their upland estates, having previously permitted it before.