Yorkshire Water will review the future of grouse shooting on Baitings, Turley Holes & Higher House Moors in Calderdale.
The move has been welcomed by Wild Moors—which is lobbying the water company to stop leasing moorland for grouse shooting—and could spell the end for one of Yorkshire Water’s largest game bird shooting agreements. However, the conservation campaign is encouraging Yorkshire Water to now go a step further and review its ten other grouse shooting tenancies to protect wildlife, the environment and water quality.
Yorkshire Water has faced a sustained campaign over the past eight months opposing grouse shooting being permitted on its land. Over 18,000 people have contacted company CEO Richard Flint to support ending the practice on utility moorland. A high profile demonstration was mounted in Hebden Bridge on the opening of the last grouse shooting season in August.
Investigations have been performed on 7 of the 11 moors leased by Yorkshire Water for grouse shooting revealing widespread wildlife persecution and environmental damage. Native wildlife is being eradicated through traps, snares and guns to increase red grouse populations for shooting. Sensitive peatland habitat has been damaged by burning and construction of shooting hides. A tawny owl was also found shot down and hidden in a wall on one of the company’s leased moors.
Luke Steele, Director of Wild Moors, said:
“Yorkshire Water’s review of grouse shooting agreements on Baitings, Turley Holes & Higher House Moors is a welcomed step forward. However, it’s a grim reality native wildlife continues to be eradicated and sensitive habitat damaged by burning on its ten other leased moors to boost grouse populations for shooting.
“We strongly encourage Yorkshire Water to go a step further and review all of its grouse shooting agreements to ensure wildlife and habitat is given the protection it deserves.
“If Yorkshire Water wants to be recognised as taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, then ending its grouse shooting leases it the only course of action which will suffice. Only by completely removing the negative impact allowing the practice has on wildlife, habitat and the regional economy will Yorkshire Water truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.”