April 2018           EU bans Neonicotinoid pesticides
                             Brilliant news for pollinators
March      2018     Is feeding birds harmful?

10th May 2017     Planning application to develop
                            Milner Field Farm WITHDRAWN 

March 2017          Milner Field Farm at risk

February 2017     More Station wildlife areas to come

January 2017       Death of Mari Friend

November 2016    Salmon expected to return to River Aire in                                  Saltaire

September 2016   Sty Lane -Hammer Blow
                             Bradford Beck trail unveiled
                             State of Nature 2016 published
August       2016    Marbled White butterfly colony
May           2016    Cullingworth Orchids
March       2016     First results from big garden birdwatch 2016
August      2015     Parks and Gardens
                              Shipley Town Manager
                              Milner Fields farm, Gilstead
                              Shipley town centre development
March       2015     Something for nothing - Low Moor
                              Caring for bats
January    2015   - Badgers bring funds
                              National pollinator strategy
July           2014   - Butterfly news - Marbled Whites in Shipley
                              Help needed - Eldwick Oaks eaten
March        2014   - Plans for Shipley Town Centre
December 2013 -   End of autumn
                              Hirst Wood regeneration
                              Cullingworth orchids
                              Prince of Wales Park 
November 2013 -   St Ives news
28th April  2018 The temporary  eu ban on the use of neonicotinoids (nnc) has been made permanent in a long awaited decision .  

The decision was based on increased scientific evidence of harm to bees. , but use of nnc will still be permitted in closed greenhouses. 
When buying potted plants customers are urged to find plants not exposed to nnc, or to grow from  seed.

It is important that the UK continues the ban after Brexit

13th March 2018   Is our bird-feeding harming birds?

We spend about £200 million each year feeding garden birds. Around 48% of households put out food.

For the most part this is beneficial for us, and for the birds we feed, but there is a downside. The possible harms are revealed in a newly published article in the journal “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.”

The paper summarises the results of 25 years of careful observation, combined with data from bird post-mortem studies. Risks identified were:

·       Birds are close together at feeders.
·       Species which would be separate in nature, meet at feeders.
·       Some feeds are nutritionally poor, producing overweight,               under-nourished birds.
·       stale food, food waste and droppings build up at feeders.

This means diseases can spread further and faster, and disease control is less effective.

Some bird species are at particular risk. Greenfinches come in for special mention in the research. The Greenfinch population has fallen drastically, coinciding with the spread of a disease called Finch trichomonosis.
                                                                                                                                                     greenfinch at feeder

Another risk of harm is exposure to predators. Predators such as sparrow-hawks can access feeding birds more easily.

Should we stop feeding birds?

Simple measures can reduce the possible harms. Stopping feeding would lead to problems for the birds dependant on us.

The researchers recommend reducing harm by feeding a variety of feeds, bought from approved makers, only putting out enough food for 2-3 days, and washing feeders before refilling. Washing should be done outdoors using a bucket of soapy water, and feeders should be dried before use.
February 2018

The UK's favourite Nature book has been announced

FIRST       Fingers in the Sparkle Jar                   by Chris Packham

SECOND   Tarka the Otter                              by Henry Williamson

THIRD       Common Ground                                     by Rob Cowen

10th May 2017  - Planning application to develop
                           Milner Field Farm WITHDRAWN 

March 2017
Milner Field Farm was built as a model farm in~1872 on the instructions of Titus Salt jnr. who lived in the nearby Milner Field, a large mansion set within its own grounds.
The house was demolished in 1952 and little now remains. The Farm has been continually worked by tenant farmers. It has been home to the current family of farmers, the Downs, for 114 years.
Robert Marnock, one of the outstanding English horticulturalists and garden designers of the 19th century was involved in the design of the Estate
The boundary of the Farm and many landscape features remain as they were in ~1872.
The Estate has close historical and geographical links to World Heritage Saltaire. It sits within the buffer zone of the World Heritage site. Local historians regard it as the single most important link to Saltaire and its founding family within that zone.
There is no formal public right of way through Milner Field estate, but it is used extensively by the public.
The farm produces milk some of which is sold locally.
The estate including the farm, is owned by the Hartley Property Group and they have applied to develop an “Innovations Centre” on the land.
The use of the land is constrained by the terms of the agricultural tenancy, which provides some security to the tenants, and the fact that it is dedicated as greenbelt.           
Where the idea to build an “Innovation Centre” is unclear. If the bid is successful the tenancy would be broken leaving the Downs with no home or livelihood. Farming would end, and the greenbelt status would be lost.
Local support for the farm is huge, and BUWG has joined in voicing opposition to the bid.
Perhaps surprised by the level of support,  the bid has been revised to include “green” development of the estate. Given that the core of the bid was not ecological we continue  to oppose the bid.
Please consider adding your voice to the campaign.

Forster Square Station to get Wildlife Area?
Forster Square Station, and possibly Frizinghall Station, have the potential for development of wildlife areas.
On Friday December 9, on behalf of BUWG, Susan met with Tom Jones, a Senior Transport Officer from the Council, to discuss next steps at Forster Square.
We will look in more detail at the site, possibly in June 2017, to see what may be possible in future.

January 2017

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Mari Friend at age 80.
With her husband John, she founded Bracken Hall Countryside centre, where she inspired a love of the natural world in many visitors.

She saw the wonder in small things , and captured it in her drawings and publications.

We miss her. 

Her husband John writes:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/23/mari-friend-obituary24th November 2016

November 2016 -  Salmon expected to return to River Aire in     Saltaire
"The end of the beginning" of efforts to return salmon spawning to the upper reaches of the River Aire was the assessment of Kevin Sunderland,trustee & former chair of the Aire Rivers Trust on the formation of the Trust in 2011. Kevin reviewed progress made in the 5 years since his last report to BUWG.

Water quality of the Aire, poor since tanneries began dischargIng
waste into the river in Medieval times, is now good.

The end of industry and the improvement of sewage treatment are major factors contributing to this change.

In the last 5 years most of the biggest barriers to fish movement between the sea and Saltaire have been reduced or removed. 

Work is still ongoing, and funding is still required to remove some of the remaining weirs, but salmon are expected to be found around Bradford in the summer/ autumn of 2017.

25th September 2016 - Initial Planning Permission has been granted for the Sty Lane site.

The permission only allows for removal and re-siting of the swing bridge, but this work will make accessible the land on which more than 400 houses are to be built. 
BUWG has long opposed the development which will remove land from the greenbelt, damage habitats, and harm the landscape adjacent to the 5-rise locks. 

Greenhill Action Group(GAG) is looking for ways to overturn the permission. 

25th September 2016 - Unveiling of Bradford Beck Trail. 
1 pm - 4.30 pm  Water themed activities in City Square.

September 2016 State of Nature 2016

More than 50 wildlife organisations shared data and resources to present a detailed picture of the state of nature in Britain.While there were some positive reasons to be cheerful, the overall picture was of fragmentation of, and loss of, habitat.

The major cause of decline was intensification of agriculture, planned and subsidised by Government

The sowing season has changed from Spring to Autumn

There is increased exposure to  agricultural chemicals – fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides

Ponds and hedges have been lost

Climate change was expected to be the major future risk.

Urban wildlife was given special mention, both as an area of concern, and as an area of possible improvement.

Development of brownfield sites squeezes out space for wildlife, non-native invasive species often are first seen in urban settings, and gardens are getting smaller.

Deliberate planning of verges, green areas, and gardens can create new habitat and link existing wildlife areas.

The report cites provision of through routes for foraging hedgehogs, and a Bristol project aimed at changing ordinary streets into wildlife corridors as evidence  that decline can be reversed

See the full report -http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/State%20of%20Nature%20UK%20report%20pages_1%20Sept_tcm9-424984.pdf                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

August 2016 - Marbled White butterfly colony in Shipley.

Since 2012 marbled white butterflies have been seen near Shipley station. This year on our walk 5 were seen. This established colony needs conservation.

March 2016 
First results from big garden birdwatch 2016  LINK
August 2015
Parks and gardens
In July, Bradford Council announced it was stopping funding for floral, displays and closing the Peel Park greenhouse.
The campaign to continue with floral displays received support from Alan Titchmarsh, who began his career working as a council gardener in Ilkley.
The council suggests that a different approach, with low-maintenance planting,is better for wildlife. This of course depends on what precise wildlife is to be supported, and what sort of habitat you are seeking to produce.
Shipley town manager
A further blow in Bradford Council’s cost-cutting has been the loss of the Shipley town manager. Yvonne Crossley has been a supporter of Shipley Station wildlife meadow, and ran Shipley in Bloom.
We wish her every success in the future and are sorry to lose her.
On the verge
Plantlife are campaigning to improve management of roadside verges for nature.http://www.plantlife.org.uk/roadvergecampaign
Visit their website to find out more, and to join the campaign.

March 2015
Getting something from nothing.
What happens if you leave Nature to its own devices? At the AGM of BUWG Martin Priestley reported the evolution of a species-rich “new” site for wildlife at Low Moor which has developed from a bare, brownfield site. The site now needs official recognition to protect it.
In the 1980s Martin visited the Low Moor tip. Gulls were attracted to the tip and so it was possible to spot several species.
The tip was eventually covered & left, regenerating itself. Much of the site has developed into meadowland, with some patches of young trees (15-20 years old). Martin has counted 60 species of plants and grasses, but feels many more would be found by more expert eyes.
The whole area was fenced off, but now has access points.
The new site is probably a continuation, southwest of the existing Low Moor site 1.5 miles away, of an urban migration route from North East to South West.
Some years ago Martin found a Common White Throat at the site in June. That autumn Lesser White Throat passed through South Bradford. One was seen in Raw Nook and at the same time another was spotted at the tip site, supporting the suggestion of a wildlife corridor.
A local group held a meeting to discuss their plan for a new greenway through the tip site, to join up with an existing route in Cleckheaton.  They also wanted to establish new wildlife habitats.
Martin was asked to help, and decided to do a monthly wildlife report on the new site. He started recording in June and had been on site for 5 minutes when he saw two small heath butterflies, rare in Raw Nook. Over time he started to see more and more common blue butterflies. He found 43 males in one area constituting a confirmed colony. In all 11 different species of butterfly have been reported, together with several species of day-flying moth.
Unfortunately there is no water on the main part of the site - a single Brown Hawker dragonfly is the only one recorded.
In Sept after 9 visits Martin filed a report which he felt gave an idea of what is on the site, but he believes there is plenty more to record.
Horses on the site were an issue & the council agreed to fence off the common blue site, but went on to put the fence some distance away from the colony.
In Oct 2013, with Bradford council backing, the site was officially opened. An article in Butterfly Conservation magazine “Argus” praised the council.
A visit by BUWG was late in year and so didn't see much, but could see the potential of the site. We will arrange to revisit in summer. Keep an eye on the website for details.
Members are urged to help build up a database of what they see there - make a list of sightings and let Martin know.
The aim is to make it an official local wildlife site, which will protect it. Railway Terrace not far away is Bradford's first Local Nature Reserve (LNR - proper title, arranged by council, protected by government).
Getting there.
The site is off Dealburn Road, directly opposite Low Moor recycling centre.
It is open to public - as you walk up main path there are side paths which are good for exploring! 
Caring for Bats
Every year volunteers across West Yorkshire rescue hundreds of injured bats, care for them and return most to the wild. 
Injured pipistrelle bat
- small tear in wing
- cold and wet

With the right care this one survived.
The West Yorkshire Bat Group is looking for volunteer bat carers. 
For more information please contact Maggie 
January, 2015
Badgers bring funds.
BUWG funds have been increased by the transfer of monies left in the account of Bradford Badger Group after the Group’s demise. 
This is thanks to the efforts of Peter Britton, who supported the move.
We know Peter would like some of the money to be used to support projects involving badgers and we will try to do this.
National pollinator strategy: 
for bees and other pollinators in England
This new plan for pollinators has been set out by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Elizabeth Truss. She has asked for people to let their lawns grow and provide more flowers to feed bees. She has drawn together a variety of organisations - Network Rail, the Highways Agency and the National Trust - to pledge planting of bee-friendly flowers.
The strategy doesn’t mention pesticides. Neonicotinoids have received publicity recently for their probable damaging effect on bees and their nests.
Meanwhile you can see, study and download the strategy, and supporting documents at: 
July 2014 - Your Help Needed!
At the end of May, in poor weather, a hardy group from BUWG visited the Prince of Wales Park in Eldwick. 
The lower end of the Park, including several mature oak trees, seemed fine. The top of the Park is scrubland with heather, bracken, bilberry, and encroaching young oaks. 
Many of these trees were severely defoliated - branches were covered in small web tents studded with frass, suggesting caterpillar damage.
December 2014
Autumn – my last butterfly and Shipley in Bloom.
The leaves were still on the trees at the end of October and, as I write, the leaves were only dropping off most of the woodland areas at the end of November.  
My last butterfly sighting of importance was a female Common Blue in the large field outside Shipley Station on September 23 2013.  
The results from the ‘Shipley in Bloom’ judges were as follows.
Under Areas of Achievement – “The Butterfly Meadow near the railway station is most unusual, attractive and effective.  Glad to hear of co-operation with the railway company and other bodies.”
Shipley again received a Silver award.
Hirst Wood Bogland (near Hirst Wood Locks)
As mentioned in our September newsletter, ‘BEES’ (Bradford Environmental Education Service) has produced a document detailing the future management of this small area for Nature Conservation. We understand they have already started work on the site.
Sty Lane Update
As mentioned in the last newsletter, the developers have again appealed to the Secretary of State to review his position.  In the meantime the developers produced another plan to display to the public.  (I’m sure nobody will support them.)  In the T&A for December 2 2013 a heading ‘Make site no-go plea over development’  “Bradford Council has been urged to reverse the status of a green field site allocated for housing in Bingley to end once and for all a long and costly battle between residents and developers.” The Greenhill Action Group (GAG) has sent a letter to representatives of the Council asking for the land to be taken off the housing list.  The Council says legally it is not allowed to do this.  The future of Sty Lane is still in doubt.  Results of the latest appeal are pending.
Manywells and Orchid Site, Cullingworth.
On September 20 we were involved with a site visit to Manywells with Mark Woods, ecologist, and Steve McBurney from the Manywells Development Company and members of the Cullingworth Village Council to look at an area above the existing orchid site. where Mark wants to move the bee orchids (and will include the species of Common Blue Butterflies also).   
The reason for this suggested move is that Manywells Developers would like to build extra houses on the existing orchid site.  Mark thinks the existing site will deteriorate, especially with the proposed housing.  
To give Mark his due, he has had experience of moving plants (and butterflies) before and knows his ‘stuff’.  The latest technology will be used to dig out a huge area containing Bee Orchids, and Common Blues larvae over winter. A 2 foot deep slice of land will be transferred to the new site, which will be prepared and dug out to receive the orchids.
We are concerned for the loss of the original habitat, and our stance at the moment is that a small section of orchids (Common spotted) should be moved as a ‘trial piece’ and we should have both sites, since Mark did discover 2 blues on the ‘new’ site when the sun came out! 
A planning application has not yet been submitted to the council (early December). 
We attended an open evening on October 23 at Cullingworth Village Hall when the orchid site was discussed.  There is time to make a decision since it would be a few years before the orchid site would be built on. The buildings surrounding the area would be built first.The decision is pending.                                                                                 
Friends of the Prince of Wales Park
During September Alan Mirfield gave us the talk about the park. We have to praise all the hard work done on the park to open up the views, clear the path and steps and to clear the quarry area back to the existing stones. 
Already simple plant fossils have been found on some of the stones and an old fossilised tree trunk on the far end of the quarry was cleared.  
As reported in the September newsletter, bracken was pulled up over the summer, but also permission was given to spray and remove oak saplings due to come into leaf, stopping the light to the bilberries.  
The saplings were successfully removed during November, and the very small ‘Christmas trees’ were also removed and given out to the public to take.  
As the wildlife lead I am concerned for the future of the woodland near the top entrance which is part of the Wildlife Area.  The wildlife sub-committee do not want it cleared, tidied up and opened up, as it is a valuable "natural" area important for wildlife, and not a garden.
Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre - update
We hope that early in 2014 we get positive news for the future of Bracken Hall that will include a public access, information and education role.
The Friends group, under the Chairmanship of John Dallas, has continued to promote the Centre through a programme of activities while Baildon Town Council has been attempting to negotiate with Bradford Council. 
It has been somewhat frustrating for us as there has seemed to be a lull with no real information forthcoming for the last several weeks, since the good news that Bracken Hall had been registered as ‘an asset of community value’ giving a bit of breathing space for Baildon Town Council to put together a bid.  
We have made good links with Baildon through the Council, Neighbourhood Forum, Baildon Children’s Centre, Local History Group, Shipley Glen Tramway, ‘Walkers are Welcome’ and the Old Glen House Tearooms – all of which should be a help if we get back in to Bracken Hall.  
We have also been able to talk to members of the public on the Glen.
Our understanding (December 2013) is that Baildon Town Council and other interested parties are in discussions about a multi-use solution for Bracken Hall.
There is likely to be some commercial activity with scope for volunteers and groups to provide facilities and activities in Shipley Glen to promote Bradford’s countryside, wildlife, history ...
I am sure that some detail will soon be made public – via the Baildon Town Council website and the T&A.  Then the work will start!
Thanks to all who have supported us this year.  New members always welcome –just £1 to join!
Friends of Bracken Hall Countryside Centre
Joy Smith, Secretary (07981 711091, joy-smith@blueyonder.co.uk)
John Dallas, Chairman (07890 916844, john.dallas.bradford@gmail.com)                   Joy
November 2013
What a difference a friend makes …
The Friends of St Ives shared three areas of their work with members of BUWG at its October meeting. Susan Hart and Kath Gabbitas, of the Friends group, outlined some of the group’s successes.
These included attracting funding of more than £250,000, opening and staffing the visitors’ centre on the estate, and organising a programme of walks and talks.
The Friends group was formed ten years ago with the aim of protecting and preserving the estate.  
The group also contributed to the popular playground at St Ives, which attracts children who also enjoy the walks and wildlife to be seen in the area. 
Some of the walks, such as the fungus foray, bring in large numbers of attentive visitors.
Organised history walks around the estate offer the chance to find out more about its history, including the story of the Jacobean house which was sited in the grounds of what is now the nursing home to the sale of the estate to what was then  Bingley Council for the grand sum of £39,000, back in 1928.
Regular visitors to St Ives might be surprised to learn that a coppice pond was once the major water supply for the town of Bingley, that 13 farms and two fulling mills were once sited on the area and that in the 12th century, land was granted to Rievaulx Abbey in exchange for prayer.
Recent innovations include a herb garden themed in keeping with the historic estate, with areas which are related to textile dying and medicinal herbs, for example.
The visitors’ centre is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11am until 3pm, staffed by volunteers, and leaflets available include one on the ponds and watergardens formerly found on the estate.
The Friends group is actively involved in attracting wildlife to the area and displayed an impressive range of photos capturing some of the beauty of the estate and its flora and fauna.


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