As promised, a first instalment of the exchanges around responses to the draft of the SWT management plan. Normal coloured type is my original comments, blue is SWT's response, and red is my reaction to the response.
I am opposed to chemical herbicides being used on the site. These could be acceptable in a very few tightly controlled circumstances given genuinely competent usage.
Which is precisely what’s planned.
By SWT??! competent?
But evidence so far suggests the organisation is poor, communication is defective and flawed and users of the site do not trust SWT to use chemicals safely.
What evidence? Allegations such as there are taken seriously and unless you can substantiate these I can do very little.
Evidence has already been produced (and brought to the attention of the Reserve Manager) in relation to the mass poisoning of birches. This action was taken with no notification to users of the site, nor even to the RAG!! This was poisoning on a large scale. It was also incompetent because the poison was allowed to run down the sides of the trees and kill off the vegetation at the base and around. Why has there been no response to the complaint, even during the ‘evaluation’ we requested and were promised in 2005?
There should certainly be no spraying of bracken anywhere near places where wild fruit is harvested. There is only one way to reduce bracken effectively around bilberry – by pulling.
On this scale?
If you don’t like the scale then I suggest you don’t do it, or just do a small amount. I’m not asking for this to be done. If you cannot address the bracken without poisoning let nature deal with it by shading out as recommended by experts in bracken and DEFRA.
You could come and join us to help do this – we do have bracken pulling planned in – the glade in the woodland and possibly on top of Lenny Hill.
I have done much pulling of bracken around bilberry, probably more than anyone else apart from G.N. (local resident), but I choose to do it, as I say, adjacent to paths and around the fruit producing shrubs working in from the paths. This has a valid and comprehensible recreational purpose and means something to people compared to the rather sterile exercise SWT go in for.
We’ve been doing it for 5 years and it has had some effect though obviously it doesn’t eradicate it. Plus there is only a certain amount of time anyone can pull bracken before it becomes boring and tedious.
Which is why I do it the way that I say, pulling a bit each day. It works. If SWT came round to my idea of a site worker instead of a herd of cattle and an ineffective centrally based 'site team' this would be easy. I’m not interested in pulling huge areas of bracken where a better solution would be to allow trees to grow to shade it out. What SWT are doing is encouraging bracken by cutting mature trees. I can show you where.
Please get in touch at the beginning of July as we’ll have planned it in by then and can let you know (if not before).
No thanks. I don't believe I'm anti-social but I’ve learned that keeping company with SWT staff and members can lead to unfortunate results - such as being insulted, misrepresented and defamed.
All H & S precautions are taken when spraying takes place but you are welcome to receive a COSHH assessment from us if you wish – or you can look on the internet for a standard one.
You can have all the qualifications you like but what really matters is valuing and respecting the site on its own terms.