Pressure grows against common grazing

PUBLISHED: 11:37 07 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

OVERWHELMING opposition to plans to put a fence around a well-used beauty in order to graze cattle there, has been shown in a survey conducted by a local resident. John Stocker, of Nomansland in Wheathampstead, consulted people on proposals to fence off a

OVERWHELMING opposition to plans to put a fence around a well-used beauty in order to graze cattle there, has been shown in a survey conducted by a local resident.

John Stocker, of Nomansland in Wheathampstead, consulted people on proposals to fence off areas of the common in order to let long-horned cattle roam - and all but four of the 300 responses were against it.

Signatories felt the land would be restricted, hindering the enjoyment of many people who freely roamed around it.

Mr Stocker's survey has now been handed to St Albans District Council with the aim of putting a stop to the plans in the light of such widespread opposition.

He says the survey contradicts one carried out by the council's green spaces manager, Jon Green, in which he claimed 37 local residents supported the grazing proposals. However, Mr Stocker said the council refused to provide details of the individual responses in their consultation.

He said: "This is being proposed by a small group of council officers and the majority of the population aren't being heard.

"This is a democracy and they are supposed to be representing the views of the population and I don't feel that this is coming through."

The council argues that the heathland on the north side of Ferrers Lane is some of the best in South Herts and supports a wealth of rare plants including dwarf gorse and heather, rare insects, butterflies and bees.

But while a lot of work has been done to reclaim the heath from tree cover, the best form of management is believed to be the reintroduction of grazing animals.

Similar schemes are planned for Colney Heath and Bricket Wood Commons.

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