Air support in moors battle to halt ‘invader’

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The Friends of Ilkley Moor are waging war on a green invader.

The group is set to spend £10,000 in an attempt to stop bracken taking over the lower slopes of the beauty spot, encroaching on
footpaths and blocking public access.

A specialist helicopter will be drafted in to spray herbicide on selected areas of the moor.

John Stidworthy, chairman of the Friends of Ilkley Moor, said: “We are hoping the chemical will destroy a large area of the bracken, and that the money will be well spent by the Friends.

“We will not know for sure until next year when the bracken comes up – or we hope does not.

“Various permissions have been obtained from Natural England to ensure there is no loss of biodiversity. In fact there is evidence that the removal of the bracken should improve the biodiversity over time.”

Spraying will start next month and walkers will be kept informed with public notifications.

The group and landowner Bradford Council have said they will endeavour to ensure there will be minimum disruption while work is being carried out.

Former chairman Owen Wells said the Friends of Ilkley Moor gained “few results” in pushing for bracken clearing on the popular walking areas of the moor.

Thousands of tourists and walkers flock to Ilkley Moor.

The moor is famous as the inspiration for Yorkshire’s very own county anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at.