The picture often painted by the grouse shooting industry is one of community harmony – a rural idyll where local residents are deliriously enthralled by the activities of the local grouse moor managers and thankful for the boost that grouse shooting brings to the local economy, without which the local community would apparently collapse.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Until, that is, you realise that the various quotes trotted out in support of the industry are word-for-word identical, even though they were supposedly uttered by local residents living hundreds of miles apart! Quite obviously this was part of a determined PR effort by the industry’s spin doctors to portray widespread support (e.g. see here).
Increasingly, though, we’ve been hearing a different point of view, with local residents finding their voices and speaking out against the damage this industry brings to their door. First we heard from local communities in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (see here and here), then from a community in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (see here), and now from a local community in the North York Moors National Park.
Last month, residents of the village of Goathland called a public meeting to discuss their concerns about the environmental consequences of driven grouse moor management in their area, and particularly their concerns about ‘disappearing’ wildlife.
Here’s Goathland, in the heart of this National Park and practically surrounded by driven grouse moors:
This is a National Park – look at the state of it! And those grouse moors spread a lot further west than shown on this map.
Here’s the agenda for the meeting held on 24 October 2018. We note with some irony the third item listed was ‘Raptors disappearing’. Less than two days after this meeting, the satellite tag attached to hen harrier Arthur sent its last signal from a grouse moor in the North York National Park before both it and Arthur ‘disappeared’.
One of our blog readers attended this meeting and made some notes, as follows:
A few days later the official minutes were circulated as follows:
There’s a lot of interesting stuff to work through in both these documents. Many thanks to the blog reader who sent these through.
Very well done to the Goathland residents for raising these issues and for trying to hold someone to account. It’s brilliant to see them challenging the Moorland Association and exposing its propaganda.
If you’d like to support the Goathland residents and add your voice to theirs, you might like to comment on the current Landscapes Review consultation which is gathering evidence on how England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) should be ‘fit for the future’. If you think intensive grouse moor management and its associated wildlife crime should be ousted from the North York Moors National Park, or that the National Park Authority should be given increased enforcement powers to deal with the associated wildlife crime and environmental damage, then this is your opportunity to comment.
UPDATE 11 January 2019: Local community holds 2nd meeting to raise concerns about grouse moor management in National Park (here)