History was made today when Bradford Councillors vote to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor

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Ilkley, UK – Bradford’s Labour Group voted overwhelmingly not to renew grouse shooting rights for Ilkley Moor, a move that has been strongly welcomed by wildlife campaigners.

Bradford Councillors voted to not renew controversial grouse shooting rights for Ilkley Moor at City Hall tonight. The decision, which was taken by the Bradford Labour Group, is understood to have been supported by an ‘overwhelming majority’ of those councillors who voted.

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM), which has lobbied Bradford Council to end grouse shooting on the moor since its formation in May 2014, has strongly welcomed the move. The group notes that 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. It has urged for efforts to now be focused on reversing 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.

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBIM, comments: “Bradford Council’s decision tonight to not 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 persued 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.”

Bradford Council was up until the vote 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.

4 comments to History was made today when Bradford Councillors vote to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor

  • Ros berrington

    Finally all the hard work and effort has paid off.This sends out a strong message that Grouse shooting is seen by more and more people to be a morally and economically unacceptable.Come on National Trust and National Park Authorities now it is your turn to stand up.Well done to Ban Blood Sports on Ilkley Moor and all who have fought for this day.

  • Ilkley is a part of the larger area known,I think, as Rombalds moor,most of which is managed for driven grouse shooting.

    Apparently, there have been quite large decreases in a number of breeding species over the last thirty years or so, quite how much of these are due to management for shooting I do not know.
    However, what is clear is that, in this case these practices do not seem to have benefited these species to any degree,and were unable to stem the declines.

    This fact, along with perceived environmental damage,makes Bradford Councils decision understandable.
    It is to be hoped that the situation can be improved, at least on this section of the moor.

  • Gus Gough

    Whilst the people who campaigned for the end of grouse shooting on ilkley moor will be feeling good about themselves after the local council voted for such a ban, it will be interesting to see how the number of bird species and the number of birds within each species do if there is to be no vermin control on the moor or any form of management. Is anyone going to be doing bird counts over a period of years to show how all of the birds species have benefitted or not from the ban on grouse shooting.

  • You can be sure that the situation will be monitored closely over the coming years. No doubt ground nesting birds will benefit from on going predator control by the surrounding keepers.