BASC has today told the BBC that Bradford City Council’s grouse shooting ban on Ilkley Moor was a decision influenced by anti-shooting hysteria rather than sound politics and an analysis of evidence.
BASC North regional officer Gareth Dockerty challenged the council during an edited debate on Radio 4’s national Farming Today programme.
The council’s majority Labour group has voted not to renew the shooting lease held by the Bingley Moor Partnership following campaigning by anti-shooting extremists.
Mr Dockerty said: “The shooting partnership has previously worked with the council for many years. They’ve done everything in accordance with the management plan and their work, and their private investment, has benefited the habitats and species within the areas that they shoot.
“But a minority group has whipped up hysteria and the council has listened. That’s quite concerning. A few people with an anti-shooting agenda have driven something forward on social media and, with the help of a few celebrities, they’ve got exactly what they want.
“I was challenged by the BBC on whether I was right to call this decision a tragedy for conservation on the moor. I think we are absolutely sound on that point. History has shown us that when our uplands stop being managed for grouse shooting, there is a demonstrable negative effect on those fragile habitats and their wildlife.
“The scientific evidence shows that the management of sensitive moorlands for grouse shooting has clear economic, social and environmental benefits. Grouse shooting supports the equivalent of over 2,500 jobs and has an annual value to the UK economy of around £100 million. It strengthens local communities.”
Mr Dockerty’s debate with Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, can be heard here from around nine minutes.