Tag Archives: High Peak

The Far From Glorious Twelfth

Two_grouse_'picked'_after_the_previous_day's_shoot._-_geograph.org.uk_-_547403From August 12th until a couple of weeks before Christmas Britain’s wealthy elite will be let loose on its moorland uplands. Driven grouse shooting involves beaters going in front of the people with guns “beating” the heather so that the birds fly into the air where they are then shot at. Around half a million birds can be killed during the season. If that seems barbaric, even worse is the fact that in order to maintain this so called sport, all grouse predators are being destroyed on the uplands, and the moors themselves destroyed by burning the heather in the name of “management”.

Hen Harriers are an iconic bird of the uplands, however in 2014 there were only 4 nesting pairs in England. A couple of weeks ago there was an outcry in this country when it was discovered that Cecil the Lion had been shot and killed in Zimbabwe, but where is the outcry at the loss of Hen Harriers? Five adult birds have disappeared this year, and whilst the disappearance is reported euphemistically as “mysterious” the obvious answer is that they have been shot, poisoned or trapped by game keepers to protect the grouse for shooting.

In the same vein game keepers are now systematically ridding the uplands of mountain hare because they are said to carry a parasite which infects grouse. Literally mountains of mountain hare have been killed in Scotland and the practice is spreading South.

When concern is raised about grouse shooting and the practices which support it, the argument is put that it provides employment and income to areas which would otherwise have none. However the grouse shooting season is a few months and whilst the hospitality trade might benefit slightly during that period, assuming those that shoot do frequent the restaurants and pubs of local areas, that benefit would be spread much wider, both geographically and time wise, if people were coming to look at the wildlife rather than kill it.

Not only that but grouse shooting costs us in terms of higher water bills, because of the cost of clearing water polluted by higher particulates as a result of peat burning.

And then there is the cost to the atmosphere: Peat is a carbon sink and the High Peak is one of the biggest peat uplands in England and therefore one of the biggest carbon sinks in the UK. Management for grouse shooting consists of burning areas of heather on a cycle year by year. The effect of this is to release unwanted carbon directly into the atmosphere but more long term it has been shown to severely compromise the build up of future peat. It also obviously destroys the existing vegetation, much of which such as sphagnum moss is protected (and is one of the reasons for which subsidies from the EU to the landowners exist), and as stated effects water supplies. (http://www.wateratleeds.org/ember/)

Leading conservationist Mark Avery has launched a petition calling on parliament to ban grouse shooting . You can sign it here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104441.

You could also contact your MP to ask him or her to support a ban. Green Party policy is clear. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all blood-sports. Our manifesto includes the commitment to ban driven grouse shooting.

Charlotte Farrell

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Derbyshire Gets Chance To Vote Green At General Election

The Green Party will stand four candidates in Derbyshire in the forthcoming General Election.

Peter Allen, 49, of Glossop will represent the Green Party in the High Peak constituency. Peter says:

I am delighted that voters in High Peak will now have the chance to vote Green. This election will be the most important in recent times: Britain and the world face a perfect storm as we suffer the worst financial crisis in living memory, while millions of people are losing their homes due to climate change, and the search for continued growth wreaks devastation on the world’s rainforests and ecology. To cap it all, we experience an energy crisis, as easy-to-mine fossil fuels diminish. Only the Green Party offers the right response, with our programme for sustainable living and social justice.

To underline the urgency of Climate Change, Peter will be travelling to London with other Green Party members to take part in The Wave demonstration next weekend. Expected to attract a million participants, this event will demand that the world’s leaders face up to the dangers of global warming now and begin to implement policies necessary to ensure the survival of humanity on the planet.  Green Party leader Caroline Lucas recently spelled out our collective challenge:

We now have to recognise that climate change is potentially the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced. At the same time the measures we need to tackle it, like a massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy will actually make jobs, and will help us out of recession.

The other three Green Party candidates in Derbyshire are:

  • Lee Fletcher, Erewash
  • Josh Stockell, Derbyshire Dales
  • Duncan Kerr, Chesterfield