PROTESTERS wore blindfolds outside Bradford's City Hall as part of a demonstration against grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) campaigners also held signs reading 'Bradford Council: Don't turn a blind eye to grouse shooting' as part of the protest on Saturday.

The demonstration marked the start of the heather burning season, where moorland, including publicly-owned Ilkley Moor, is set alight to increase grouse numbers for shooting.

Luke Steele, spokesman for BBIM, said Ilkley Moor was the last municipal moorland in the UK where grouse shooting was permitted, following other local authorities prohibiting it on their land.

BBIM also believes the burning of moorland reduces wildlife biodiversity, water quality and harms blanket bog, and wants Bradford Council to replace the practice with cutting.

The Council's corporate overview and scrutiny committee will hear an appeal from BBIM on Wednesday to send the issue to the executive committee for a decision, off the back of a 2,200-signature petition to prohibit the practice.

Mr Steele said: "Bradford Council allows Ilkley Moor's heather to be set ablaze solely to increase grouse numbers for shooting. This reckless practice harms wildlife biodiversity, including removing removing insects consumed by birds such as lapwing and curlew, reduces water quality and damages rare peatland bog.

"We ask Leader David Green to not turn a blind eye to the damage grouse moor management is causing and replace burning with cutting, which benefits habitat conservation."