TV presenter Chris Packham’s journey around the UK to audit the country’s wildlife (Packham plans a ‘bioblitz’ to help nature fight back, The Yorkshire Post, April 17) is missing a key pitstop when in Yorkshire; moorland managed for grouse shooting.
Mr Packham criticises the state of the UK’s landscape and argues the only place to see abundant wildlife are nature reserves, here he is wrong. He conveniently forgets to mention the breeding success of a range of ground-nesting birds under way on grouse moors across the north of England, including in the Yorkshire Dales.
Last November the British Trust for Ornithology released a report of a pilot project highlighting the key role that grouse moor gamekeepers play through ‘citizen science’ in the monitoring and conservation of thriving upland wader populations.
The project took place in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which trialled methods for involving gamekeepers and farmers in surveying breeding waders and monitoring the hatching success of nests. The report revealed validated high densities of breeding curlew, golden plover, papwing, redshank and snipe in the upland project area covering moorland and farm land. Crucially six out of 10 nests fledged chicks; much higher than the national average away from grouse moors and in nature reserves.
Mr Packham’s aim of using ‘citizen science’ to benchmark future wildlife fluctuations is laudable, but to suggest “there’s nothing left” outside of nature reserves does a huge disservice to farmers, gamekeepers and conservationists whose careful stewardship of the countryside provides countless social and environmental benefits.
The scourge of fly-tipping
From: Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer.
FLY-TIPPING is a growing problem not only here in York with over 1,500 incidents in the last year, but nationally with the estimated cost of clearance in England of £58m.
During the debate in Parliament, I raised the point that charging for small items at the local tip can have a knock-on effect. I also pointed out that fly-tipping is part of a wider criminality which needs to be tackled.
It is good to see the Government has taken action by issuing more severe fines, but I believe we can go further. I fully support efforts in urging the Government to increase anti fly-tipping education, increase the cost of fines and expanding access to waste and recycling centres.
Brexit danger for farmers
From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.
ANNE McIntosh makes good points about the possible effects of Brexit on farmers. It is vital to maintain farm welfare standards (The Yorkshire Post, April 18).
While there were good points in Michael Gove’s proposals for farm support after Brexit maintaining, food production doesn’t seem to have been one of them. Farmers are right to be concerned and as a food consumer I share their concerns. Where possible I try to ensure my food is sourced near home.
Brexit negotiations are not going well largely due to the Government’s lack of preparation and general muddle.The USA is good at strong arming trade partners. In the scramble for post-Brexit deals, British farmers could be pushed aside. They are not a large group of voters. We are in dangerous times for farmers and those of us who care deeply about food standards.
Thin blue line in rural areas
From: Paul Morley, Long Preston, Skipton.
THAT a bit of a cheek, isn’t it? Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan saying that people in rural areas must make their voices heard to get better policing to combat the growth of crime in our area (The Yorkshire Post, April 18 and 19).
Not only do organised cross border criminals know what they want and where to get it, they also know that with rural officers having to make round trips of up to a hundred miles to get prisoners to the few and far flung custody suites that still exist, the chances of a police presence anywhere near them when they are thieving are practically zero.
Bloom was on Pen-y-Ghent
From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.
I ALWAYS enjoy the photographs on the “Letters to the Editor” page. The one printed (The Yorkshire Post, April 17) indicates that the purple saxifrage was in bloom on Ingleborough. My memory of seeing this lovely flower is of seeing it on Pen-y-Ghent, which I think is where your photograph was taken.
What about paper buds?
From: Elisabeth Baker, Leeds.
THE Government is, quite rightly, planning to ban various “throw-away” plastic items, in a bid to lead the way in trying to save the planet from the scourge of plastic pollution. One of these items is cotton buds (The Yorkshire Post, April 20). I hope that they are aware that there are brands of cotton buds whose sticks are made of compressed paper, not plastic. These need to be excluded from any ban.
Windrush cards fiasco
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
DOES it really matter who destroyed the landing cards of some of the Windrush generation? Surely the time debating this issue would be better spent making the situation right and compensating those who suffered?