Historic vote to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor

Bradford councillors have voted to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor by an overwhelming majority.

The vote by Bradford Council Labour Group earlier this week was welcomed by the Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) which has been lobbying to end grouse shooting since 2014.

The shooting ban will not only protect the grouse but will also have a positive impact on other native species and the environment. Over half of breeding bird species on Ilkley Moor have declined or become extinct locally while extensive heather burning, carried out to encourage grouse breeding, is believed to have led to flooding in urban areas.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports said: “This is a landmark moment in the campaign to end shooting in the UK. We are pleased to see that Bradford Council accepts the unnecessary suffering and collateral damage to wildlife and the environment that is caused by commercial shooting, and has returned the land to the people, instead of a small selection of bloodthirsty individuals.

“We would also like to congratulate Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor for running an outstanding campaign. According to industry statistics an estimated 700,000 grouse are shot every year in Britain for ‘sport’, and we are glad to see that Ilkley Moor will no longer be contributing to that number.”

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for BBIM, comments: “Bradford Council’s Labour Group decision 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 pursued 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.”

The move – which is also backed by the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and independent councillors in Bradford – means that there is no longer a single local authority across the UK still allowing grouse shooting to take place on public land.

During a recent consultation on the future of the management of Ilkley Moor, the largest number of submissions received by the local authority on any single topic urged an end to grouse shooting.

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