Carrying picnics and home-made banners, 120 campaigners held a peaceful walk for wildlife on Ilkley Moor on Saturday, just days before the start of the grouse shooting season on 12 August. Their goal? To urge landowner Bradford Council to end the practice – which has decreased wildlife biodiversity, degraded rare habitat and polluted the public land with toxic lead shot. Instead they want the local authority to deliver a new vision for Ilkley Moor, which promotes wildlife biodiversity, teaches younger generations the importance of conservation and benefits the local economy.
Luke Steele, Director of Wild Moors, said:
“Since grouse shooting was introduced to Ilkley Moor in 2008 wildlife biodiversity has crashed, rare peatland bog has been degraded by burning and the land polluted with toxic lead shot. Our message is simple: Bradford Council can deliver better for Ilkley Moor and that starts with ending grouse shooting.”
The protest ramble comes as Bradford Council is expected to launch a public consultation on the future of grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor by the end of Summer. The Council is the last local authority in the UK to allow the ‘sport’ on its upland estate, with nearby Sheffield City Council and Peak District National Park Authority already prohibiting the damaging practice. Parish and District Councillors, including Cllrs Cath Bacon (Lab, Keighley), Henri Murison (Lab, Ilkley South) and Cllr Claire Darling (Green, Ilkley South), conservationists, including Bill Oddie OBE and Dr Mark Avery, and actors, including Emmerdale’s Nick Miles and Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan, have given their support to the campaign.