10:48am Friday 30th May 2014
By Amanda Greaves
Anti-bloodsports campaigners are targeting Bradford Council in an attempt to halt grouse shooting on the publicly-owned Ilkley Moor.
A coalition of anti-bloodsports campaigners, called Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) says it already has 500 signatures on a petition calling on the Council to end the shoots – and says it may take “lawful direct action” to obstruct shoots.
The group and its supporters has also posted comments on Bradford Council’s social media sites.
The Council granted a lease to Bingley Moor Partnership in 2008 to hold shoots, in a deal which sees the Partnership provide a gamekeeper and work with the Council on the management of the moor.
The move came following the fire of 2006 which badly damaged large areas of the moor.
The Council has since secured a Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England, which has brought additional funding in to help manage the moor.
A review of the shooting rights lease took place last summer, and councillors at the time asked for a progress monitoring report to be presented a year later.
BBIM has started a petition calling on Bradford Council to ban grouse shooting and related predator control on Ilkley Moor.
Spokesman for BBIM, Luke Steele, said: “The shooting of grouse for entertainment on Ilkley Moor is barbaric. These marvellous birds are shot out of the sky for pleasure.”
The group is also critical of the use of traps to control predators on the moor.
Mr Steele added: “Ilkley Moor should be somewhere for walkers to enjoy and for people to learn about the unique biodiversity. Sadly, at the moment it is neither.”
Bradford Council said it let the grouse shooting rights in 2008 on a ten-year agreement, and a review was undertaken by its Environment and Waste Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee last July.
A Council spokesman said: “This concluded that the agreement would continue to its end date in 2018, subject to a number of conditions which were included in the review report. This remains the Council’s position.
“The Committee also asked in July 2013 for a progress monitoring report about the conditions of Ilkley Moor Sporting Rights Deed to be presented to members in 12 months time.”
The dates of this year’s Council meetings and agendas will not be finalised until later next month.
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