Newly elected representative for Keighley and Ilkley, John Grogan MP, has backed an end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. The politician has described the practice when conducted on public land as presenting a potential conflict of interest.
Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor, which has lobbied Bradford Metropolitan District Council (BMDC) to cease leasing the land for game shooting, has welcomed the constituency result. The organisation maintains that grouse moor management techniques deployed on the municipal estate are damaging to wildlife biodiversity, rare peatland habitat and impact negatively on those who use the facility.
In a statement confirming his position, Mr Grogan said:
“On public land like Ilkley Moor I do think there is a potential conflict of interest between the interests of shooters and those who want to enjoy the moor in other ways such as walking. The current agreement with Bradford Council to allow shooting runs out in 2018 and I do not think it should be renewed.”
BMDC 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 moorland estates, having previously permitted it before, and now maintain the land using other methods.
Calls for BMDC to follow these successful precedents have received significant support, including from Councillor Henri Murison (Ilkley South) and renowned conservationist Bill Oddie OBE. During a recent consultation on 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.