Historic move by United Utilities to end grouse shooting on its moorlands
Posted 24th July 2023
England’s largest corporate landowner announced the move following a review of its position initiated in March, saying grouse shooting leases will not be renewed and no new ones issued.
Chris Luffingham, deputy chief executive at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “This historic move to end grouse shooting will hugely benefit the environment and the animals living there.
“No longer will tens of thousands of grouse be shot simply for ‘sport’ every year and we’ll see an end to the use of cruel traps such as snares – recently banned in Wales – which are used by gamekeepers to eliminate wildlife.”
In a statement issued over the weekend, United Utilities said that: "Instead of being maintained for grouse shooting, the company's water catchment moors will be restored for nature, climate and people."
Louise Beardmore, CEO of United Utilities, said: "We made a commitment that we would no longer renew any existing shooting leases on a long-term basis and that has guided our approach over the last couple of years. I can now also confirm that we will not issue any new shooting leases as United Utilities as we go forward."
Conservation organisations including Wild Moors that have campaigned to restore Britain’s upland landscapes hailed the move as a 'breakthrough moment' that would lead to restoration of large parts of the countryside in the north west of England.
Chris Luffingham added: “It’s time for change and for landowners across the UK to follow suit and end the brutal activity of grouse shooting on their land.
“United Utilities is leading the way in showing how our moorland can be restored and become a more natural and diverse environment, and not one based on animal cruelty.”
Notes to editors
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The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act 2004 and the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage wildlife reserves. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).