THE leader of the Green Party has called for grouse shooting to be banned after contributing to floods that left vast tracts of North England deluged.

Natalie Bennett has claimed the intensive management of moors in areas such as Yorkshire were being had led to destruction of the blanket bog and the peat, and other measures such as drainage, leading to increased the run-off during the heaviest storms.

The call, which has been dismissed by shooting industry leaders as being based on ignorance, follows widespread concerns for the North Yorkshire and North East rural economy last year after poor weather led many of its shooting days being lost.

One of the moorland estates, Raby, in Upper Teasdale, said it feared its grouse events would be halved due to unseasonal which hit County Durham moors last May.

Miss Bennett said a visit to moors in Yorkshire had revealed a "heavily controlled, almost industrial, landscape, where you'd expect rich biodiversity and wilderness".

She said: "Management of moors for intensive shooting is simply incompatible with 21st century needs - which is why the Green Party is backing the call to ban driven grouse shooting in the UK.

"This is a question of acting for the common good, and not allowing the actions of the one per cent to threaten the lives, the livelihoods and the homes of the rest of us."

Liam Stokes, of the Countryside Alliance, said the conservation benefits of grouse moor management were well documented.

He said: “Blaming grouse moors for flooding is far too simplistic.

“If you were to visit a grouse moor as Natalie Bennett has apparently done, you would see five times as many threatened waders as you would on a moor without a gamekeeper and maybe a black grouse - 96 per cent of which live on the edges of moorland managed for grouse shooting."