The Council, two moors and the mysterious tractor
The title of this blog may sound like the next children’s bestselling book. However, the events on Baildon Moor in West York may well be stranger than fiction.
A social media video
A short film appeared on social media yesterday, reportedly showing a tractor mowing heather on Baildon Moor, which is managed by Bradford City Council. This created a flurry of criticism and outrage; how could somebody mow over a moorland during the ground nesting bird season? The moor is home to lapwing, snipe, red grouse, meadow pipits, and skylarks along with curlew, a bird so iconic and rare it recently had its own ‘World Curlew Day’.
Most people know it is illegal to disturb or damage the nest site of a wild bird (unless under specific exceptions). So numerous people and organisations (including BASC) began to contact Bradford City Council for an explanation.
Bradford City Council does have a habit of making headlines regarding the management of their moorlands.
In 2018 they banned grouse shooting from the neighbouring Ilkley Moor after a high-profile campaign by anti-shooting extremists. This was in spite of the fact that the Council’s very own management plan described the many benefits of the grouse shoot. This included free habitat management and a lease revenue providing over £11,000 a year, which the Council spent on conservation projects.
Sadly on 20 April 2019, Ilkley moor was set ablaze via a devastating arson attack damaging over 50 acres of the moor. Yet the potential for such wildfire incidents was outlined by the Council and a solution given:
“In addition to the approved management works which the keepers may undertake, their presence on the moor, day and night, provides an additional level of protection to the moor.