Ryedale's MP has defended grouse shooting for the support it provides to the environment and local economy.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said there were multiple good reasons grouse shooting should not be banned.

He said: "For a start tens of thousands of people enjoy the beautiful purple and green-carpeted North York Moors which certainly does not look like that by accident. I have been up to the moors with the gamekeepers on a number of occasions looking at different parts of the moors in my constituency.

"The parts that are being managed are green and purple whereas the areas that are left unmanaged, as trials, are very grey and very poor in terms of wildlife. Left unmanaged the moors just would not look as they do today and visitors would be far less likely to come."

Mr Hollinrake said a ban would also seriously affect the farming communities.

"Leaving the moors unmanaged would be tremendously bad for the people who work in the supply chain and all the related businesses. I really do not think they would find other jobs in North Yorkshire to the level that they have. A huge number of people are employed in the hotels and restaurants and as caterers, beaters or gamekeepers. There are huge benefits to people in constituencies such as mine in terms of the wider economy and wellbeing."

Mr Hollinrake said that when he was child, he did not recall seeing buzzards, however now, there are a huge number always circling in the sky.

"Some relevant statistics come from Spaunton Moor and George Winn-Darley, who is the representative of the North York Moors to the Moorland Association. In a single year, there have been 1,552 sightings of birds of prey, including 726 buzzards," he added.

"Of course, it is absolutely right that we should clamp down on any wildlife crime, including against birds of prey.

"Wild Justice was responsible for some changes to general licences that make it much more difficult to control other types of birds, such as gulls, which have a devastating impact on grouse chicks, lapwing chicks and curlew chicks.

Mr Hollinrake added: "We must make sure that we take steps carefully and must be evidence-based. It is essential that our wildlife is properly protected, and anyone involved in game management must respect the country’s conservation laws, which are among the toughest in the world.