Bradford Councillors are meeting this afternoon to consider a grouse-shooting ban on the publicly-owned Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire.
The moor is currently leased for grouse-shooting to the Bingley Moor Partnership, who own private moorland adjacent to Ilkley Moor that is also used for grouse-shooting. The ten-year Ilkley Moor lease has been in place since 2008 but not without controversy (e.g. see here).
Now a local, grassroots, campaign organisation called Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) has forced the Council to re-think after submitting a 1,000+ signature petition calling for the lease to be terminated and publishing a report detailing their arguments for the ban: Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor report
BBIM is supported by another local group, the Friends of Ilkley Moor, who until recently had remained strictly neutral on the issue of shooting on the moor. The reasons for their change of heart can be read here.
Last year, Bradford Council undertook a review of the shooting lease and, despite some pretty controversial findings, decided to continue with the lease agreement. See here: Scrutiny Review of Ilkley Moor sporting rights deed July 2013
The lead partner of the Bingley Moor Partnership is one Edward Bromet – former Chairman of the Moorland Association who reportedly had a close relationship with former DEFRA Minister (and grouse-moor owner) Richard Benyon MP, apparently discussing hen harriers & other grouse moor related ‘issues’ during a private dinner (see here).
Edward, and the Moorland Association’s current Director, Amanda Anderson, have been doing their best to portray the Ilkley Moor grouse shoot as a ‘tremendous conservation effort’ (see here).
It’ll be interesting to hear the Councillors’ decision, hopefully later today.
UPDATE 18.45HRS: Bradford Council has voted to retain the grouse-shooting lease on Ilkley Moor. The campaign group BBIM has vowed to fight on.
UPDATE October 1st: The following statement has been published on the BBIM facebook page:
A Statement from Our Spokesperson:
Last night at City Hall a motion was narrowly passed to continue grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. The vote was tight, with 4 councillors in favour and 3 against. Those who supported us must be commended for their honourable decision to place the interests of moor users and conservation above those of grouse shooting parties.
Over the past several months, Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor has cultivated a ground-breaking campaign. We have succeeded where many others have failed, in dragging Bradford Council‘s reputation into disrepute. Many of our reforms have already been realised – shooting has largely been stopped this season and trapping halted – with the only thing lacking now being the political will to enact such. Lastly, we have reached over half a million people with our message. These are monumental successes in their own right.
Let it be known that we have no intention of skulking away like cowards. Instead, we shall continue with our heads held high. From here on we can only evolve and grow, until the day Ilkley Moor is ridden of the grouse shooting blight.
If Bradford Council want to hold this deplorable stance on grouse shooting, let them now defend it in the court of public opinion. The task we now face is to take what is happening on Ilkley Moor and deliver it across the region. BBIM fully accepts this challenge.
Thank you to each and everyone of you for your – continued – support.
City Hall: We Will Be Back!
On behalf of Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor