WILDLIFE experts have spoken out against plans for a new road through fields in Silsden.

Natural England fears the road, which would provide access to a potential housing estate, could have “significant effects” on breeding birds that use nearby moorland.

And the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has expressed dissatisfaction with tree and environmental reports prepared by the development company.

The naturalists’ concerns have been highlighted by Silsden Campaign Group for the Countryside, which was set up last month to oppose the road plan.

The group spoke out after Natural England sent Bradford Council its official response to a planning application for the controversial road, which would connect busy Bolton Road with fields at Hawber Cote.

More than 200 local people have also lodged objections to Silsden Development Company’s plans, citing road safety concerns, the loss of footpaths, and destruction of wildlife habitats.

A spokesman said: “The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has added its voice to those dissatisfied with the development company’s own tree and environmental reports.

“It is contacting Bradford Council to ask for updates and proper environmental survey and impact assessments, rather than registering an objection at this stage.

“Natural England, a statutory body, has raised concerns over “potential significant effects” from the development on nearby sites of special protection and has demanded that a breeding bird survey be undertaken before the planning application proceeds further.”

Keighley MP John Grogan, who is supporting the campaigners, added: “Bradford Council’s own trees team have expressed concern about the impact on trees and Natural England have made some important points about nesting birds in the vicinity.”

In its official submission to the council, Natural England has threatened to object due to potential significant effects on the South Pennines Moors Special Protection Area and a local Site of Special Scientific Interest.

It added: “Natural England requires further information in order to determine the significance of these impacts and the scope for mitigation.

“Breeding bird surveys are required. The proposals would lead to the loss of approximately 1.8 hectare of semi-improved grassland, which has the potential to be used by foraging birds.”

Natural England added that the road fell within 2km of breeding grounds for golden plover, Merlin, and as breeding migratory birds that used m habitats.”