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Cannock Chase gears up for battle against bracken

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

Bracken on Broc Hill, Cannock Chase

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THE battle to control bracken on Cannock Chase is starting again this summer.

Staffordshire County Council’s environment and countryside team will again be taking on wildlife-threatening bracken across the area - for the 10th year in a row.

Teams of contractors will be out spraying bracken over the next few weeks on well-signposted areas of the Chase to help protect heather and other wildlife habitats from the invasive plant.

The operation has been approved by the government’s nature conservation adviser, Natural England. Teams will use a herbicide spray that has been classified as completely harmless to animals, birds, humans and other plants.

Managed by Staffordshire County Council, Cannock Chase Country Park’s heathland landscape makes it a top UK and European wildlife haven. The bracken control helps protect the heathland that is important for some of the rarest wildlife, including birds such as the nightjar and woodlark, reptiles, and a variety of insects, including green hairstreak butterflies and solitary bees.

The teams will carry out the spraying on foot, or using small all-terrain vehicles and hope to start the work next week. The work needs to be done in fine, dry weather, so it can be difficult to say exactly which days the teams will be in action.

Staffordshire County Councillor Gill Heath, Cabinet Support Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs said: “This key work helps our vitally important wildlife habitats on Cannock Chase. Over the past decade a lot of hard work has gone in to the operation and its continuing success means it is a key part of our work, so we ask the public to take care around the workers.

“They will only be active in small areas at any one time and they will all be clearly marked. We thank the public in advance for their understanding while this essential work to protect the Chase and its rare wildlife is happening, especially during the busy summer holidays.”

Staffordshire County Council has been tackling bracken on the Country Park with great success over the past 10 years. This has led to the return of some of the rarer species and the creation of habitat that is much more friendly for wildlife. It has also helped improve visitor access.

Members of the public with any concerns about the bracken spraying scheme should contact Staffordshire County Council on 0300 111 8000

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