Wildlife Trust Listening To Objectors

A group set up to mediate between the Wildlife Trust and land users, including objectors to their grazing policy, has disbanded.

The Grazing Access Working Group, chaired by Trevor Kirk of the Isles Of Scilly Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) wasn’t needed because of improved communication between Save Our Scilly grazing objectors and the Trust.

Darren Hart, assistant warden of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, says some opinions from grazing opponents have now changed because both parties have been talking to find the root of the problems.

He says the Trust has tried to find “a happy medium” with SOS and they now graze smaller areas and move fences further from paths, although he says SOS hasn’t officially asked them to stop the grazing policy.

They also remove fences as soon as the animals have finished grazing an area allowing access to be maintained.

SOS Committee member Dave Badcock doesn’t share that view.

He told us he personally feels that some of the areas grazed are a disgrace, with the mass clearance of gorse destroying a habitat and cover for various bird species.

It’s Dave’s opinion that the Trust has listened but “only a little” and has changed things very slightly, with large areas still fenced and cattle on footpaths.

He says that clearly the majority of people on the islands don’t want this and only a minority do.

In a recent poll run on Radio Scilly’s website, 82% of respondents wanted the grazing policy to stop.

Dave says he remembers these areas from his childhood and the grazing has changed the scenery. He added that people visit Scilly for the “unspoiled wildness of the place” and not a manicured landscape blighted with electric fencing.

Darren says there has been positive feedback to the effects of the grazing, particularly the range of flowers visible on the Garrison.

In the future, plans to start an abattoir could mean more grazing and he feels some objectors may then be more supportive as the economic and community benefits will be tangible.

And Darren says the Trust needs to have more community engagement. He wants people to come forward and give their opinions.


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