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Boat owner ‘shocked’ at wildflower destruction
11:00am Sunday 22nd July 2012 in News
A narrowboat owner has hit out after wildflowers along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal were cut down.
Vicky Blick, who owns a narrowboat moored at East Marton, said that a contractor working for the Canal and River Trust mowed down a mass of wildflowers on a scenic stretch of the canal between East Marton and Bank Newton.
Mrs Blick said: “When we arrived we walked the towpath and saw numerous species including orchids, cranesbill, oxeye daisy, self heal, vetch, red clover, bird's foot trefoil and buttercups as well as many bees and butterflies.
“Then lo and behold, they were gone the next day - there was no trace of them,” said Mrs Blick. “They came along and flattened them.
“The grass on the main towpath was well trodden and really didn’t need cutting,” she added. “If it had to be cut then the verges either side certainly didn’t need to be touched because the main path was a metre or more wide.
“We live on the canal and you rarely see wildflowers like that,” she said. “Every walker, boater and cyclist who was on the towpath when the cutting took place was shocked at what was being done - people come here to enjoy the wild countryside not walk across a mown lawn.”
Mrs Blick is now trying to set up a petition and is encouraging people to make their feelings known to the Canal and River Trust, previously known as British Waterways.
Her husband has made a complaint to the trust.
Cath Ferguson, Canal and River Trust environment manager, said: “We are thankful for the report from the customer.
“Towpath mowing is one of many aspects of waterway management where we try to balance various, and sometimes conflicting, requirements for safety, conservation of the natural and built environment, recreational activities and user expectations in a cost effective manner.
“With over 2,000 miles of towpath to maintain, this is a challenging task to achieve.
“We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the mowing of the wildflowers and will use the results of the investigation to see if changes can be made to the towpath mowing regime along this section of the canal.”