From Our Newsletter

January 2017

A warm and sunny September changed to a cold and frosty October. Leaves clung to the trees until shaken off in storms in late November. We had a spectacular and prolonged display of autumn colours.

The first snow fell here on 9th November and there was a further fall on 13th November - the date for the annual grass cut at Shipley station - but the day was fine and not too cold
At the cut Alistair Taylor from Butterfly Conservation, who has a chainsaw certificate, carefully pruned the big willow in the far corner, which let in a lot more light. Our thanks to Alistair for helping in this way and for his hard work in cutting the grass, and pruning elsewhere in the meadow.

Milner Fields, Gilstead - update
We are still (in early December 2016) awaiting a result of the Planning Application to replace the existing Dairy Farm with a High Tech Innovation Centre. 
The land is owned by Alan Lewis and his Company is dealing with the application.  They insist that the land of Milner Field (Green Belt) is safe from development. 
This is incorrect - the land has already been offered to the Council for development through the Allocations Document.
As we understand it, David Downs, the farmer, holds an Agricultural Tenancy, which is passed from father to son. 
Planning permission for the change of use of the land and for the Innovation Centre of the farm could automatically end the tenancy forcing the farmer off the land.
On Friday November 25 the T&A reported that campaigners were planning a protest and that the application was still to come before the Council. There have been 1,184 comments on the Authority’s website. 
On Saturday December 5 Val and Susan attended Milner Fields Farm to protest against the development. The organisers had arranged for 2 alpacas to be on show. Nick Salt, the great-great grandson of Sir Titus Salt was present in support

The T&A carried an article about the protest on Monday December 5. 
Look North ran a disappointingly brief mention of the event.
The proposal will probably have to go through a Planning Inspector.

Canal Road Corridor, Shipley

The Bradford City Centre Action Plans and the Shipley and Canal Road Corridor Area Action Plan were examined by Inspector Louise Nurser at Victoria Hall, Saltaire in October 2016.
BUWG has concerns about the ecological impact of the proposed development.

The Action Plan contains proposals for a “nectar highway” and “butterfly express”, but how these would be implemented with so many houses to be built is unclear.
Susan Stead spoke at the hearing on Wednesday 19 October, 2016
Also at the meeting was a representative from the Canal and River Trust who was there to push for the plan to specify rewliding and restoration of the Beck and Canal.
We expect BUWG to be invited to a meeting on site, and to receive notice of an order to protect an area for butterflies. 
The Core Strategy Document has now been delayed by Shipley MP, Philip Davies, who is concerned about threats to the Green Belt.
Two dates to discuss the risk of flooding from the Bradford Beck are due to be announced.
Helen Mead and the Telegraph & Argus
Helen’s article on the Shipley Marbled White Butterflies and our other activities went into the paper on Wednesday October 26 2016. Joan was asked about the Low Moor Bee Orchids.
The article featured a photograph of a Marbled White, and a shot of the ever- photogenic Les Barnett.

Ilkley Moor Management Plan    2016 – 2026 Consultation Draft.
The draft plan was available for consultation from Monday 10 October until Sunday 20 November, 2016.

Susan sent a response letter on behalf of BUWG. She made a points about the butterfly and moth species on the moor, the management of heather, the problem of grouse shooting, and Council funding.
A message from the Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre
Good news that, at last, work is planned in the garden to restore the hedge and the coppice habitats.  Check out our website for updates.  We expect Ed Kyrke to work on the hedge over the first weekend of February – do take the opportunity to drop in, see what is going on and ask any questions.
Ian Butterfield and Forest of Bradford will deal with the coppice on the following Wednesday.  They have recently been busy repairing a section of the drystone wall.
It was a beautiful day for our Boxing Day walk – cancelled last year as the floods rose.  At the start, we planted a Lord Derby apple tree to improve the pollination of the two Bramleys on the site and took the opportunity to remember Mari Friend.  John Friend hopes to visit in 2017 and share stories of their time at Bracken Hall.
The Friends group supports the Centre with practical help in the garden and building and by providing activities.  Our next walk, Friday 13, will be led by Chris and Mervyn Flecknoe to Bingley and Back and we have a varied programme of walks for 2017.  The Centre will be open as usual from 12:00 – 16:00 on the Saturday and Sunday. 
We welcome new members, but our activities are open to all.
BTC website and www.facebook.com/FoBHCC for updates. 
Schools are booking in, mainly for activities led by John Dallas.
07933 355753) 

or call in at the centre to give your views on future development and to find out about joining the rota. 
Richard is applying for a Heritage Lottery Grant and would welcome a wide range of views.
Joy Smith, 
Secretary, Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre 

January 2016

Green Belt At Risk

In December 2015 the DCLG published a National Planning Policy Framework Consultation

It was the subject of an article in the Daily Telegraph for December 8 headlined ‘Build Homes on Green Belt’. The article highlighted changes which “threaten”  thousands of new homes on Green Belt . This was described as the biggest relaxation of planning rules for 30 years.

The possible changes are set out in paragraphs 48-54 of the consultation document
They might have a bearing on the proposed Milner Fields development - which is a proposal for replacement of the farm buildings - a brownfield site in Green Belt- although not for new housing.( See below )

Weather and Butterflies

In 2015 there was a long extension of summer well into autumn. The first half of November was the warmest recorded.

Butterflies were flying later than usual. At Trench Meadows in September a Wall Brown butterfly was recorded - a species on the Butterfly Conservation danger list. In October, a Common Blue was recorded at the other side of the beck off the cycling track, Shipley. This is very late for this species.

The Shipley Station grass cut was scheduled for 15 November, and the rain poured down all night.

Thankfully the weather brightened up and the wind dipped. My thanks are due to Matt who was prepared to come and do the work. Two Butterfly Conservation members came from Otley and did a marvellous job. Somehow five of us managed to do what was necessary. We may do some more tree pruning weather permitting.

The drainage in the meadow is very good and it is never as wet as some people think .

A representative from Northern Rail has offered to replace our information board with a new presentation (if necessary, new photographs and text).
The existing board has deteriorated due to weathering. It has been in use quite a long time and water has entered behind the glass.

The second half of November saw torrential rain delivered by storm “Abigail”,  followed by a very wet December.

This culminated in widespread flooding  in our area on Boxing Day, courtesy of storm "Desmond".

view at Cottingley Bridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    view of Roberts Park

The aftermath of the floods was of waterside trees fallen, or covered in debris, mostly shreds of plastic.

riverside at Denso Marsden

 A container had been swept into the river and washed into Baildon Bridge. 

Since the floods large bands of volunteers have cleared litter along sections of the bank, including at Denso Marsden. 

Great community spirit was shown by the huge efforts of volunteers who helped those whose homes or businesses had been flooded.

A message from the Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre:

“Work is underway to convert the main building to B&B.

Although things on the Countryside Centre front haven’t been moving as quickly as we hoped, progress is being made. The classroom, toilets and garden are in use for Friends’ activities, school visits and other occasional events.

Baildon Town Council is in the process of setting up the exhibition room – a few old favourites to start with, working towards some exciting new displays.

We are planning to begin weekend events from 12-4pm.

We hope that over the weeks Baildon Town Council will be able to recruit sufficient volunteers to continue regular weekend opening. Contact BTC or call into the centre if you are interested in being part of the team.

Bracken Hall will be the top station for the Saltaire Heritage Weekend in April. Check out their website www.friendsofbrackenhall.org.uk, BTC website and www.facebook.com/FoBHCC for updates.

If anyone would like to organise an activity, walk or event for FoBHCC, please get in touch. Groups can book the facilities through BTC to hold group or public countryside events and we would love to see it being used to the full.”

Joy Smith, secretary, Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre, secretary@friendsofbrackenhall.org.uk 07981 711091.
Milner Fields Estate, Gilstead

We have already discussed the proposed Milner Fields Innovation Unit which would replace the dairy farm off Primrose Lan

The plan was reported in the T&A on 20 February 2015.

In November we heard about 2 planning applications, one to build the innovation unit & one being a change of use of existing agricultural land to provide land for research for Bradford University and Bradford College. The proposed development is a joint venture between the Hartley Property Group and Bradford University.

The land is in the greenbelt.
The tenant farmer, Keith Downs, has no intention of giving up the tenancy. If the plans went ahead, he would lose his dairy farm, which has been farmed by his family for more than 50 years, and lose the money he has invested in developing the business.

Natural England, responding to the application, note the close proximity to Trench Meadows SSSI. They request more detail regarding proposed use of the land before full consideration is given to the application.

Looking at the Brooks ecological report, it mentions Trench Meadows as being separated from the development area by arable land and woodland. What will happen to this ‘arable’ land in the future?

Our experience is that similar applications are followed by further development, and the loss of greenbelt

The two planning numbers are 15/05538/MAF and 15/05552/FUL 

Morrisons and Skipton Properties. Development at Shipley.

Our information is that the housing development will probably be going ahead, but the Morrisons supermarket will not.
A letter from Simon Woodhurst, Council  Regeneration Manager for the Canal Road site, Shipley, says negotiations between all the parties are working towards starting a first phase of residential development in approx .2016/17.
We hope another summer, 2016, is available for monitoring the Marbled White. We hope to show the species to the developers, with the aim of cordoning off an area for the species. It is a very complicated situation.

Sty Lane, Micklethwaite, Bingley.

This development went to a second inquiry on 6 October 2015 (at the first inquiry the application was turned down.  A decision confirmed by the Secretary of State).

The developers appealed the decision and submitted a new application. The Secretary of State responded by asking for another inquiry. This finished on 16 October.

Susan Stead attended the Town Hall inquiry, and was called to speak by the inspector. She said a few words about the importance of the hedgerows, open spaces, wildlife, etc.
The inspector’s report is awaited. However, there seems to be some pressure from the government to build ‘starter homes’, not just on brownfield sites but possible new homes on greenfield sites and even some of the Green Belt .

Manywells Industrial Estate Species Translocation.

See our events section for April.

Mark Woods has given us the survey of the Bee Orchid translocation site. Common Spotted Orchid and Common Blue butterflies appear to have translocated from the original Cullingworth site to the new habitat very well.

At least 50 species of flowers and grasses were recorded on the translocated site and surroundings.

Well done to Mark Woods.

Butterflies & Neonicotinoids

The Times for November 25 had a heading ‘Pesticide Spray Kills Butterflies’. Researchers from the Universities of Stirling and Sussex looked at butterfly numbers at 1,000 sites using data gathered by volunteers for the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The trends at these sites were then compared with the use of neonicotinoids. 

In a paper published in the journalPeerJ they found that neonicotinoids were associated with the decline in 15 species of butterfly, including Small Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell. In Scotland, where neonicotinoids were used more sparingly, butterfly numbers held up much better. 

So pesticides are not only harming bees, they could be harming butterflies also. The study also said that neonicotinoids used on crops also contaminated hedgerows where many wild flowers that attract butterflies grow.

The Sunday Times for November 15 looked at a report that factory farmed bumblebees could be deployed to deliver pesticides protecting plants including strawberries, rapeseed and apples from deadly fungus.

The plan involves placing a tray of pesticide powder in the entrance to a specially designed hive so that the bees have to walk through it every time they fly out. When landing on a flower they will leave some pesticide behind protecting the plant. 

The pesticide is a strain of Clonostachys Rosea fungus that doesn’t affect the bees (are we sure?) and prevents other fungi from infecting the plants, said Michael Collinson, chief executive of Bee Vectoring Technology, which is trialling the system on farms in North America and plans to bring it to Britain next year.

Quite apart from the use of the pesticide, is it morally justified to use bees this way?

More on neonicotinoids 

Prince of Wales Park
We now have three information boards, one at the bottom of the park opposite the fountain, and a history board. The wildlife board is at the top of the park near the bottom of the heathland. There are finger posts for directions.

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