Nesting bird signs on Ilkley Moor vandalised

Signs warning dog owners to keep their pets on a lead around nesting birds on Ilkley Moor have been vandalised, with many ripped from the ground and stolen.

Bradford Council's countryside team erected signs asking people to keep their pets on leads to protect both birds, during ground nesting season, and sheep, during lambing season.

Signs were put up with the help of conservation group Friends of Ilkley Moor - but were damaged soon afterwards.

Curlew, lapwing, golden plover, merlin and red grouse all nest on the moor. Short-eared owls are also among the moor's ground-nesting bird population.

The moorland across the Bradford district is heavily protected - and designated at international level - in order to protect the birds, many of them threatened species.

Danny Jackson, from the council's countryside and rights of way team, said dogs roaming free can disturb not only nesting birds, but also other wildlife, including amphibians, mammals and grazing livestock.

He said: “The stolen signs will be replaced, but this adds to the cost of protecting the moorland areas and their wildlife.

"It will also take up valuable officer and volunteer time.

"We are asking users of the moors to respect the moorland environment and keep their dogs on a lead.

"If you witness these signs being tampered with, and can tie the perpetrator back to a registration number of a car, for example, please report this to us so that we can follow it up.”

Land laws

The law says on Open Access land at the coast, dogs must be kept on a lead around livestock.

Additionally, between 1 March and 31 July, dogs must be on a lead no more than 2m-long on Open Access land, even if there is no livestock present.

There is also a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in place which requires dogs to be put on a lead. A fixed penalty fine can be issued on refusal – this covers open spaces in the Bradford district including Ilkley and Burley Moor.

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