Carrying home-made banners and picnic baskets, around 100 campaigners from Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) held a peaceful protest ramble to oppose the opening of the grouse shooting season on Ilkley Moor this weekend. Their goal? To urge Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe to not renew a grouse shooting licence for the public moor – the last municipal moorland in the country where the blood sport is still permitted. A decision is expected by Christmas.
The protest ramble comes as fresh evidence emerges showing that over half of breeding birds on Ilkley Moor have become locally extinct or declined by as much as 86 per cent, risking the site’s conservation designations. BBIM notes that wildlife biodiversity has tanked as a consequence of grouse shooting and related habitat-damaging management.
Bradford Council is the last local authority in the UK to allow the practice on public land. Peak District National Park Authority and Sheffield City Council are among the local authorities to have banned grouse shooting on their upland estates, having previously allowed it. John Grogan MP (Keighley & Ilkley), Ilkley Parish Councillor Henri Murison, a cross-party selection of District Councillors, Friends of Ilkley Moor, Chris Packham and Bill Oddie OBE are among those calling for Bradford Council to follow on by not renewing the grouse shooting license for Ilkley Moor.
Says Luke Steele, Spokesperson, Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor:
“There is only one way to manage Ilkley Moor for grouse shooting and that is through burning away and damaging precious habitat at the expense of our region’s wildlife.
“Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe must accept responsibility for the damage caused by grouse shooting to the moor’s wildlife, habitat and reputation on the local authority’s watch by giving a commitment to not renewing its disastrous shooting licence. Anything short will only ensure this conservation calamity continues.”
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