Attempts to push some of the country’s leading companies into abandoning grouse shooting are continuing to fail.

In an attempt to use the press to ambush Yorkshire Water, anti-shooting campaigners have been promoting the claim that the company is ending shooting leases on land it owns. The Yorkshire Post ran the story under the headline, “Yorkshire Water to end grouse shooting tenancies on two of its moors with eight more up for review”.

The article then went on to make the extraordinary claim that “Yorkshire Water committed to a phasing out of shooting tenancies following two years of talks with campaign group Wild Moors, formerly known as Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors.”

Untrue claim

However, Shooting Times found that this claim was untrue. What is actually taking place is scheduled review of fixed term leases. Responding to our enquiries, Yorkshire Water told Shooting Times: “We announced in 2019 that we’d review our approach to sporting leases when they come up for renewal, which will include a thorough review to assess the best option to deliver the required land management for the future.”

When challenged to specifically say whether they had “committed to phasing out shooting tenancies,” Yorkshire Water told us that they had not and that no decisions have been made. Shooting Times understands that senior figures in the company support the continuation of shooting on the company’s land. Gareth Dockerty, BASC’s head of uplands, told Shooting Times: “BASC has received confirmation from Yorkshire Water that there has been no change in policy and sporting enterprises remain one of their key land management pillars when reviewing leases.

BASC is clear that sustainable shooting has key net benefits for habitats, wildlife and communities and can form an important part of holistic land management.

The article, initiated by a convicted criminal, is incorrect. We are expecting a statement to be published by Yorkshire Water at a later date and BASC will be requesting a clarification from the Yorkshire Post.”