CAMPAIGNERS will hold a protest ramble on Ilkley Moor this Saturday to oppose the last grouse shooting season permitted under Bradford Council’s current license.

Those supporting the campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) will carry home-made banners and picnic baskets during the peaceful protest ramble. Their aim is to urge Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe to not renew a grouse shooting licence for the public moor - the last municipal moorland in the country where the sport is still permitted.

Peak District National Park Authority and Sheffield City Council are amongst the local authorities to have banned grouse shooting on their upland estates, having previously allowed it. John Grogan MP for Ilkley, Ilkley Parish councillor Henri Murison, a cross-party selection of district councillors, Friends of Ilkley Moor, Chris Packham and Bill Oddie are amongst those calling for Bradford Council to follow on by not renewing the grouse shooting license for Ilkley Moor.

Luke Steele, spokesperson, Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor said: “There is only one way to manage Ilkley Moor for grouse shooting and that is through burning away and damaging precious habitat at the expense of our region’s wildlife.

“Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe must accept responsibility for the damage caused by grouse shooting to the moor’s wildlife, habitat and reputation on the local authority’s watch by giving a commitment to not renewing its disastrous shooting licence. Anything short will only ensure this conservation calamity continues.”

However Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “It is a great pity that those calling for a ban on shooting on the moor ignore the very substantial social, economic and environmental benefits that moorland management provides. It helps preserve and enhance precious heather habitat, protect it from wildfire and is at the forefront of the UK’s peatland restoration efforts – contrary to Luke Steele’s claims. Management also benefits a wide range of bird species, many of them endangered like the glorious curlew.  In addition, many people enjoy visiting the countryside to shoot with each day bringing a much needed boost to the local rural economy.”

Campaigners will meet at the Cow & Calf Rocks, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, on Saturday, August 12 from 11am to 3pm.