A senior councillor has criticised anti-hunt campaigners who demonstrated outside Bradford’s City Hall against the award of a council contract for grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.

The protesters have petitioned Bradford Council to reverse the gran-ing of the ten-year licence.

But the Council’s executive member for environment and culture, Coun Anne Hawkesworth, said: “The recent actions of some demonstrators from the West Yorkshire Hunt Saboteurs have been misleading and misguided.

“Allegations have been made by them that are totally untrue. We have a ludicrous situation whereby we have a grouse moor with no grouse because it isn’t being managed for that purpose.

“The facts are clear. The Bingley Moor Partnership has been licensed to drive grouse on Ilkley Moor since 2004.

“The Council’s procurement service put the shooting agreement for Ilkley Moor out to tender earlier this year.

“The Bingley Moor Partnership won the tender in open competition because of the management of the moors it was able to offer. The lease is signed, sealed and delivered. This is a legally-binding agreement.

“This new ten-year lease is enabling increased investment into the moor, therefore boosting the local rural economy.

“The land management that goes with grouse-shooting, such as heather burning and bracken control, drainage management and sheep farming, is one of the practices which ensures the moorland is maintained to the best possible standard.”