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Ecology & Biodiversity

The following is an extract from Supplementary Planning Document Vol. 3 Oct 2008: Paragraph 2.4, which lists Thornton Moor Reservoir as a ‘site of ornithological interest with over 147 species of birds recorded’:-

‘The SPA has been designated for its importance to breeding in merlin (Falco columbarius), which are resident all year round, peregrine (Falco peregrinus) and high numbers of golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria). There are also nationally important populations of curlew (Numenius arquata) which breed here before wintering on the coast. The ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus) breeds on the moors but searches for food on the in-bye land. Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunts over the moorland and waders such as lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), snipe (Gallinago gallingo), dunlin (Calidris alpina) and redshank (Tringa totanus), as well as moorland birds whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) and twite (Carduelis flavirostris) which are all increasingly uncommon and nest here in important numbers. Stoat, weasel and brown hare have also been seen throughout. Thornton Moor Reservoir is a migration watch point for the Bradford Ornithological Group and is unique in Bradford for its roost congregations of selected wildfowl, waders and gulls. Schedule 1 (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) species regularly breed here or visit the site’.

The ‘brown hare’ is another species example which is not only highlighted in the above extract from Supplementary Planning Document Vol. 3 Oct 2008: Paragraph 2.4, but is seen on a regular basis in the area (and as recent as Saturday 12th May 2012). According to surveys, the brown hare population has declined substantially in recent decades and as such it is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species (as such the goal of the BAP is to increase hare populations). Natural England have indicated in their response to planning application 12/00106/FUL dated 7th February 2012 that if the presence of any BAP species is highlighted by a third party (e.g. TMWAG), ‘the planning authority should request survey information from the applicant before determining the application’. Needless to say this did not happen!!

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