Ripon’s Mayor has defended conservation work one resident feared was “destroying” a nature reserve.
Councillor Mick Stanley was replying to a letter sent to the Gazette which accused the workers of destroying the habitat.
Coun Stanley said the work at Quarry Moor park was vital to keep the area flourishing.
The city mayor who is also chairman of the Quarry Moor trustees, has responded to criticism of work that has seen parts of the reserve cleared, the cliff face cleaned and land around it ploughed.
He said: “Conservation work is sometimes necessarily harsh on those species that are common to give space for the less common to thrive, it is a fact of the process and we try not to remove any more species than we have to.
“All of the work undertaken is supervised by our trained, knowledgeable and experienced warden who also looks after other reserves.”
Coun Stanley said the work to cut down trees and clear scrub is part of a management plan for Quarry Moor, and also helps maintain the reserve’s unique geological features.
Quarry Moor is the only place in Britain, and perhaps Western Europe, where deposits from a 255 million year old sea can be seen, he said.
“Geologists come from across the world to see the quarry section, and because the tree roots, grass and other plant growth on and beneath the face and talus (soil washed down from above) have obscured the face it has to be cleaned off every few years.
“It is at least 10 years since the face was in as good a condition as it is now,” he added.
He said he could assure people that work on and beneath the face is designed purely to ensure that the face is visible.
“We [the Quarry Moor trustees] are passionate about the Moor and its flora, fauna and its geology and we intend through the management plan to ensure that those areas of scientific interest are conserved for the future, and also that the public’s leisure interests are maintained on the Moor.”
Quarry Moor Warden, Robert Adams said the work had to be done to ensure the Moor flourished ans was all part of a ten year management plan.
He said they needed to clear areas to let the light in and allow new plants to grow.