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Moorland Association response to Ilkley Moor decision

17th January 2018

Following the vote of Bradford Council’s Labour Group not to renew the grouse shooting rights for Ilkley Moor, the Moorland Association has issued this statement.

Amanda Anderson, Director of the Moorland Association, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Bradford Council’s Labour Group has decided against renewing the shooting lease for Ilkley Moor.

“While the final decision whether to allow the shooting lease to expire is yet to be made, it is a great pity that those who voted in favour of a ban on shooting on the moor ignored the very substantial social, economic and environmental benefits that moorland management provides. It helps preserve and enhance precious heather habitat, protects it from wildfire and is at the forefront of the UK’s peatland restoration efforts – contrary to Luke Steele’s spurious claims.”

“The precious landscape of Ilkley Moor largely exists as a result of dedicated management. Bradford City Council’s report of 2016 acknowledged the positive impact of gamekeepers on the moor as well as recognising the benefits of heather, wildfire and bracken control associated with grouse moor management.”

“Management also benefits a wide range of bird species, with research showing that grouse moors support up to five times as many special birds like the curlew and lapwing, which thrive on moors managed by gamekeepers, compared to moorland that is not keepered.”

“It remains to be seen who will conduct the ongoing maintenance of the moor if the shooting tenants depart and whether the taxpayer ends up picking up the tab for the costly management activities that were previously included in the shooting lease to deliver environmental benefits.”

“Going forward, it is essential that a full survey of wildlife is undertaken if ten years of careful moorland stewardship under grouse shooting tenants comes to an end so that any future changes in flora and fauna have a suitable benchmark.”

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Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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