CAMPAIGNERS have lodged a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) against Yorkshire Water over its refusal to disclose the number of red grouse shot on its land.

The groups, Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors and the League Against Cruel Sports, have made the official complaint after the Bradford-based utility firm failed to provide the information despite an environmental information request.

Several moors across the county are leased out by Yorkshire Water for grouse shooting, including Keighley Moor, Katty White’s Allotment, at Greenhow Hill, and Scar House and Angram Moor which borders onto the district at Great Whernside.

According to campaigners it is part of the agreement that tenants must routinely supply Yorkshire Water with a record of the number of red grouse shot on each moor and when.

Luke Steele, spokesman for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, said: “If Yorkshire Water is comfortable with leasing land for grouse shooting then it should be transparent about how many birds are being shot for entertainment with its permission.

“It clearly doesn’t sit comfortably with many of the company’s customers, thousands of whom have already raised formal objections, that the land which Yorkshire Water obtains their drinking water from is also leased out as a killing ground.

“We welcome the investigation by the ICO into whether Yorkshire Water has acted lawfully by refusing to disclose the number of red grouse shot on its land.”

A spokesman for the ICO said:“We have received a complaint in relation to Yorkshire Water and will be assessing the information provided.”

The complaint details how Mr Steele first requested the game account books dating back to 2015 for eight of the moors covered by sporting rights. This was processed as a request for environmental information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Mr Steele said that Yorkshire Water responded shortly afterwards refusing the request on the basis that the data was not “environmental information” and that it was also sensitive information and therefore exempt.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Water said: “Mr Steele has made a complaint to the Information Commissioner because he does not agree with our conclusion that the information he requested does not fall into the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations. At this stage the ICO has not taken a judgement on whether his complaint has any justification so for him to suggest that the ICO is investigating some form of wrongdoing is ridiculous.”