Kevin Hollinrake is the Conservative’s prospective parliamentary candidate, standing in the next general election for the Thirsk & Malton constituency, a Tory ‘safe seat’ in North Yorkshire.
Kevin Hollinrake is an estate agent.
Here are his views on grouse shooting in North Yorkshire, as reported in a local newspaper yesterday:
GROUSE shooting on the North Yorkshire Moors is worth millions of pounds to the local economy, says Kevin Hollinrake, prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Thirsk and Malton, much of which covers the moors.
Speaking at a meeting with landowners, managers and gamekeepers at Lastingham, he said that grouse moor management was worth some £67 million and provided some 1,500 jobs, as well as safeguarding 860,000 acres of heather moorland.
He praised a £52.5 million annual spend on conservation on the moors, adding that the Moorland Association had played a key part in DEFRA’S hen harrier recovery plan, and lobbied for a crack down on wildlife crime.
“We have in this country, 75 percent of what is left of the world’s heather moorland. Shooting creates the necessary income for its upkeep, along with 42,500 days of work a year.
“It benefits many rural people, from food suppliers to hoteliers and clothing manufacturers to dry stone wallers. When calls are made to ban or licence driven grouse shooting, thought is seldom given to the harmful consequences to rural economies and conservation.”
It’s good that he’s lobbying for a crack down on wildlife crime – North Yorkshire is recognised as the worst county in the UK for reported raptor persecution incidents, a title it has held for six of the past seven years (see here), so he’s got his work cut out. It is, of course, purely coincidental that the dominant land-use in North Yorkshire is driven grouse shooting.
In the same article, the following appears:
Robert Benson, chairman of the Moorland Association, said that thanks to careful moorland management and co-operation of gamekeepers, had led to the successful fledgling of 16 hen harrier chicks.
“On the North York Moors we have seen notable improvements in a number of other ‘at risk’ species, such as endangered lapwing, curlew and ring ouzel. Breeding records for merlin are four times more abundant where there are game keepers.”
Mr Benson said peatland habitats, damaged by wildfires, bracken, over-grazing and historic drainage, had been restored. “This helps capture carbon and improve water quality,” he added.
“Without the work and passion of our gamekeepers and land managers, working in tandem with farmers, many moors would revert to scrub and be lost to all those who depend on them.”
Surely Mr Benson isn’t trying to suggest that the fledging of 16 hen harrier chicks last year can be hailed as some sort of success? It’s “thanks to careful moorland management and co-operation of gamekeepers” that only four hen harrier nests in the whole of England managed to produce young last year (none of which were on grouse moors in North Yorkshire) – what happened to the other 300+ pairs? Perhaps Mr Benson needs a new soundbite: “Breeding records for hen harriers are 75 times less abundant where there are gamekeepers”.
If you think Mr Hollinrake and Mr Benson are talking out of their arses, you can join 20,767 others who have signed a petition to ban driven grouse shooting HERE