GROUSE shooting could be banned on Ilkley Moor next week, if senior councillors are swayed by an anti-bloodsports campaign.

The authority has a controversial ten-year arrangement which allows the Bingley Moor Partnership to shoot grouse on the Council-owned moor until 2018.

But the group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) has waged a high-profile campaign against the sport, even staging sit-in picnics to disrupt the shoots.

Last year, the campaigners handed in a 1,000-name petition calling for the deal to be axed and this will be considered by the Council's Executive next week.

The deal allows up to eight days of shooting a year, and is worth £10,000 a year to the council.

But one of the areas causing the most controversy is the use of traps to kill the predators of fledgling birds, such as stoats, weasels, rats, crows and magpies, which campaigners claim is harming the bio-diversity of the area.

Councillors will be considering three options - letting the shoot continue as it is, ending it subject to a six-month notice period, or letting it continue but prohibiting pest control.

Luke Steele, a spokesman for BBIM, said they welcomed the review.

He said: "We will be there presenting our case to the Council's Executive. We had over 1,000 signatures in support of banning grouse shooting.

"We are asking supporters to be in the public gallery to express their support."

But Amanda Anderson, of the Moorland Association, which backs the grouse shooting, said it would be a mistake for the Council to either end the arrangement or ban the pest control measures.

She said: "We know from science that if you carry out legal pest control, that wading birds are up to five times more abundant. That is because of the predators being controlled."

Mrs Anderson said it gave chicks a far better chance of fledging and traps were buried underground to make sure household pets weren't harmed.

She said the shoot also had wider benefits for the Ilkley area.

"There is a knock-on benefit to the local economy. Shooting parties will come up and use the local pubs, they will fill their cars up at the petrol stations.

"It's a much wider picture," she said.

The Executive meets at City Hall at 10.30am on Tuesday, February 10.