To the members of Bradford Metropolitan District Council,
We note with considerable disappointment that the Bradford Council Labour Group has voted to end the shooting on Ilkley Moor. We have seen feedback from a large number of local residents who are equally disappointed at that decision, and are fearful for the future of the moor once the exemplary management provided by the gamekeepers of the Bingley Moor Partnership is withdrawn.
In order to reassure your concerned residents, as well as conservationists everywhere, the Countryside Alliance is calling on Bradford Metropolitan District Council (BMDC) to immediately make two public commitments.
Firstly, that BMDC will commit to maintaining the current levels of funding for the conservation and management of the moor. It is unfortunate that this funding will now fall upon your taxpayers, but this is the decision that has been taken by the Council.
Secondly, BMDC will commit to rigorous monitoring of the wildlife on the moor. The deeply political decision to change the management of Ilkley Moor will have an impact on many species, not least the curlew. There were 62 curlew on Ilkley Moor last year, a species the RSPB claims we in the UK have a “special responsibility” to maintain due to its international scarcity, and the one it regards as being of the highest conservation priority. We know from previous studies that the cessation of grouse moor management leads inevitably to a decline in curlew and other red listed species, and it is vital that BMDC commits to monitoring whether the same occurs following the decision to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.
We do not support the decision made by Bradford Council Labour Group, and we have worked hard in an attempt to educate everyone involved in it. We now hope that everyone from every side of this debate will agree that BMDC must be held accountable for what happens next. This can only happen with proper investment in future management, and proper investment in ongoing monitoring.
Director of Shooting at Countryside Alliance