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Rare wildlife habitats planned for Keighley
New funding will allow a rare wildlife habitat to be created in two different locations in Keighley district.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has received £35,366 from a body that distributes cash raised from a tax on rubbish dumped in landfill sites.
This week the trust announced it would use the cash to develop “wet woodland” habitat as part of its Upper Aire Floodplain project, which includes sites at Steeton Ings and Marley in Keighley.
Councillor Brian Morris, chairman of Keighley Town Council’s allotments and landscapes committee, said he welcomed the news, adding parts of the river bank were currently “a mess”.
“In some areas, the state of the bank is not very good, and it could do with improvement,” he added. “I was down near the river during Keighley Show and could see rubbish dumped there – I think there was even an old fridge. Anything that enhances the river and Keighley as a whole is something I’m all for.”
Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council chairman Coun David Mullen said he supported conservation but was surprised by the choice of Steeton Ings.
He described it as a restricted, narrow strip of land, which is submerged completely during periods of heavy rain.
Wet woodland is an unusual type of habitat important to animals and plants, including beetles, bats and otters, as well as birds such as the lesser-spotted woodpecker and willow tit.
A Yorkshire Wildlife spokesman said its Upper Aire Floodplain project would include planting trees, which will be fenced off to allow the woodland to establish.
Wetland areas will be created by digging shallow pools and channels. In addition, areas of willow will be restructured using traditional woodland management practices to stimulate growth.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust conservation officer, Don Vine, said: “The funding is enabling us to create more of what is a declining, but incredibly important habitat.
“Wet woodland has dried up in many parts of the UK as a result of draining for agriculture and water abstraction drying up rivers.
“What is particularly exciting about this project is the funding is allowing us to work on a landscape-scale. This means partnership working with landowners and farmers in the area is essential.”
Money for the scheme has come from the SITA Trust, an independent funding body set up to provide cash through the Landfill Communities Fund.
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