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Bracken spraying map request war of words
2:00pm Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
The chairman of conservation group Friends of Ilkley Moor has questioned a senior Bingley Moor Partnership figure about the success of bracken spraying on the iconic landscape.
Owen Wells questioned where spraying has taken place, claiming the public has a right to know how and where public money from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme has been spent.
He was speaking after Edward Bromet talked to the Ilkley Gazette last week about prospects for the new grouse shooting season, and the impact of an EU ban on herbicide Asulam, used to control the spread of bracken.
Mr Bromet, who is also chairman of the Moorland Association, fears the EU ban could hinder ongoing efforts to restore heather on Ilkley Moor, and further hit wildlife populations already affected by this year’s wet weather.
Friends members have previously clashed with Bingley Moor Partnership over shooting rights on Ilkley Moor. The Partnership was given the rights by Bradford Council under a deal to secure more help and funding for the management of the fire-damaged landscape.
The organisation recently wrote to Bradford Council political group leaders asking for the shooting lease to be terminated next year, unhappy with the treatment of some dog walkers by gamekeepers and raising concerns about land management.
Mr Wells said: “Public money has been spent on spraying, yet as an interested party, we have been entirely unable to ascertain which areas of the Moor have been sprayed.
“It could be the areas chosen for spraying have been those of most interest to the Bingley Moor Partnership, rather than the public who walk on the moor. Without access to the maps of the sprayed areas, it is impossible to make any judgement.”
He said the Friends had written to the land agent for the shoot, seeking further information.
Mr Bromet told the Gazette there had been “substantial investment” in spraying, which had taken place between the Burley Moor boundary and Keighley Road.
He said: “It’s thanks to the lease of the sporting rights that it’s possible for Ilkley Moor to have a £1 million high-level stewardship scheme running at all. It joins up with the management of Rombalds Moor, and that allows the scheme to happen.”
The stewardship scheme, which funded the spraying, is administered by Natural England. Mr Bromet said the body would be able to give the Friends more details of the work.