Shooting estates build tracks to facilitate gamekeeping and shooting. This allows their vehicles to access the rugged moorland more easily. However, the tracks are often environmentally damaging: they have been built in defiance of planning restrictions, over precious blanket bog habitat.
The case of an unlawful shooting track over Bradfield Moor in the Peak District illustrates this issue. The track was built without planning permission over fragile and protected peatland, which is internationally important for ecology and carbon storage. Thousands of tonnes of aggregate were poured onto the moor for the shooting track. The landowner claimed the track was primarily for “Agricultural” use. In fact, it leads directly to shooting butts and lethal wildlife traps. Its primary use is clearly grouse shooting and predator control. The track has also been used to burn the protected blanket bog – in defiance of a voluntary agreement to cease this practice.
The landowner receives a ten year taxpayer funded £1.5 million Higher Level Stewardship subsidy here. But the land has been scarred by the track building and charred by relentless burning – all for grouse shooting. After a 5 year campaign, the Peak District National Park Authority stated the track MUST be removed. Yet the landowner appealed, was overturned and subsequently sought advice from Natural England on how to delay the removal. Shockingly, Natural England appeared to advise him on subverting the planning law. The case continues in 2020: we will continue to defend local habitat.
The landowner is multimillionaire Phillip Naylor Leyland, who is a true bloodsports enthusiast. Naylor Leyland has been Master of the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt since 1987, he has served as President of the National Coursing Club since 1988, he sought to take over a Welsh bluebell wood used as a village green for pheasant shooting in 2019 and is now embroiled in battle over his unlawful grouse shooting track in the Peak District National Park. His bloodsports interests are taking precedence over the preservation of wild habitat in the UK. This is a disgraceful display of arrogance and is absolutely irresponsible at a time of global ecological crisis.
HOW TO HELP:
- Please contact Natural England to request that the unlawful shooting track on Bradfield Moor in the Peak District is removed and the moorland fully restored. Sample letter below:
FAO: The Dark Peak East Midlands Area Team Natural England
Re: Construction of stone aggregate track at Bradfield Moors
Land at Cartledge Flat/Rushy Flat Dike, Strines, Bradfield, South Yorkshire
Subject to Planning Appeal APP/M9496/18/3208720
The Planning Inspector ordered this track to be removed by 9th September 2019 but the track is still in place.
The track has damaged protected moorland designated as a Special Area of Conservation for blanket bog and as a Site of Special Scientific interest.
Please make sure that stone, timber and all other materials are completely removed and the moorland is fully restored.