Shoot campaigners target election hopefuls

CAMPAIGNERS carrying flaming torches will urge local election candidates to back an end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor during a protest outside Bradford City Hall this Saturday.

The view from Ilkley Moor across the Wharfe Valley. Picture Tony Johnson

Campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) want an end to “damaging” grouse shouting on the moor, which they claim decreases wildlife biodiversity, degrades rare habitat and pollutes the public land.

It will urge candidates to “be a symbol of hope” by backing their campaign. The group said it already has the backing of election candidates from three different parties.

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BBIM spokesperson Luke Steele said: “Bradford Council allows grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor at a great cost. The reckless practice harms wildlife, including declining meadow pipit, dunlin and birds of prey, degrades rare peatland bog and pollutes the public land with toxic lead shot. We ask election candidates to be a symbol of hope for Ilkley Moor’s wildlife by backing an end to grouse shooting.”

Ilkley Moor is the last municipal moorland in the UK where grouse shooting is still permitted, with Sheffield City Council and Peak District National Park Authority prohibiting the sport on their upland estates.

The authority has been paid £10,000 a year by the Bingley Moor Partnership (BMP) to allow shooting on the moor for up to eight days each season. The ten-year lease to the Partnership, which owns 4,500 sq ft of moorland adjacent to Ilkley Moor, is due to expire next June.

The Partnership carries out moorland management and conservation work, which it says is worth £60,000 a year.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “We have a contract regarding grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor until June 2018. The contract has been extensively examined by a number of committees who have found no evidence to terminate the contract at this point. The election candidates will have their own individual positions on the subject on which we cannot comment.”