Pinewoods Conservation Group met with Yorkshire Water last week to discuss grass cutting at Harlow Moor Water Treatment Works.
The meeting was also attended by Harrogate District Bio Diversity Action Group (HDBAG) and Rebecca Burnett from the office of Andrew Jones MP after approached by local residents around the issue.
The land, adjacent to Nursery Lane off Otley Road, is normally currently cut 7 times a year that was destroying an environment for insects and other wildlife. Concern had been raised by several local people about the timing of Yorkshire Water cutting back the long grass in the field – just as the bees and other wildlife were enjoying the clover at the height of the summer.
The meeting discussed the operational access and health & safety issues for the site balancing the importance of grasslands and scrub areas to wildlife. After a site visit it was agreed to run a pilot project in 2014 to only mow the front area of the field where access is needed. A further wide strip will now be left to return to nature resulting in approximately another 2000 square meters of habitat being left to nature.
Dr Kathryn Turner, Biodiversity and EMS advisor from Yorkshire Water commented:
Yorkshire Water are continually looking at ways of better supporting the environment. It is often a challenge to balance this with operational needs but we are pleased in this case we are able to amend our mowing regime in this area of the Harlow Hill site. We look forward to evaluating the success of this pilot with Pinewoods Conservation Group and Harrogate District Bio-Diversity Group next Autumn.
Neil Hind, Vice Chair of PCG said:
Although this area is not in the woods themselves it on one of the major access paths so a number of local residents asked us to work with Yorkshire Water on this that we were happy to do. It was a very constructive meeting and I hadn’t appreciated some of the constraints that Yorkshire Water works under. However, we have an excellent conclusion that meets the needs of all parties and I look forward to seeing how the site develops.
PCG agreed to erect signs on the site to inform passersby about the project and ask for feedback as the land develops.
Updates on the fields progress will be provided via the group’s website www.harrogatepinewoodsgroup.org/, on Facebook and on Twitter via @PinewoodsHgt.