Illegal off-roading threat to wildlife and farming


Staff reporter (Denbighshire Free)

TRESPASSERS using 4x4 vehicles across Denbighshire’s mountain ranges are seriously damaging protected areas.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is appealing for information after a spate of illegal trespassing on the Berwyn, Ruabon and Llantysilio mountains.

NRW said these protected sites are extremely fragile and vulnerable to damage that impacts on wildlife, landscape and the farming community.

David Smith, of Natural Resources Wales, said: “These special moorlands are a part of our natural and cultural heritage here in Wales.

“This activity is completely unacceptable and damages wildlife, farming and the quiet enjoyment of the countryside pursued by the vast majority of visitors. Natural

Resources Wales is determined to stop this trespass and we are working to make sure it ceases.”

Illegal driving on these sites can be reported to North Wales Police on the 101 number.

Special moorlands like these are protected by UK and European law and are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

These areas provide a home to a whole host of rare birdlife, such as the hen harrier, merlin, peregrine falcon, golden plover, curlew, red grouse and black grouse, many of which are vulnerable to disturbance throughout the year.

North Wales Police wildlife crime officer Sgt Rob Taylor said: “We are taking these incidents very seriously. It is an offence to cause damage to these important conservation sites.

“Anyone found to be causing damage to the site is likely face legal proceedings; we would encourage walkers and other in the area to let us know if they see any illegal activity.”

In good condition, peat can store carbon which prevents it from entering the atmosphere, therefore helping combat climate change.

The land also absorbs large amounts of rainwater which it the gradually releases acting as a natural flood defence in times of heavy rainfall.

These activities also have a direct impact on the livelihood of the local farming community through damage to fences and gates which apart from the financial burden of repairing, allows livestock to wander, making some areas difficult to manage.

Natural Resources Wales, who have the statutory duty to protect these wildlife sites and manage many of the forest plantations in this area, are working closely with the Police, Denbighshire Countryside Service and landowners to try and prevent this damaging trespass.

See full story in the Free Press

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