Cattle have been removed from Hob Moor after a ‘dramatic increase in escapes’ saw them regularly invading nearby streets.
Now Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Cllr Stephen Fenton is calling on the council to take action to allow the cows to return.
On his web page, Cllr Fenton writes: “The cattle were removed by the farmer earlier this week following an increasing number of incidents where cattle were escaping from the moor through the barriers into neighbouring residential streets.
“This was happening up to four times a day, which led to the livestock manager being called out on each occasion to round up the cattle and return them to the moor.”
The council did put up some extra fencing in recent days to discourage the cows from leaving the moor but it didn’t work.
Cllr Fenton said:
Cattle have grazed Hob Moor for many years, and their presence has been a key part of a ‘Higher Level Stewardship’ agreement between the council and Natural England.
In previous years, cattle escapes have been a rare occurrence, but it seems likely that this year’s dramatic increase in escapes is a result of a failure to put mitigations in place following the removal of the restrictive ‘base plates’ from the barriers at the entrances to the moor.
As far back as April 2021, the council agreed there was a need to lengthen the cattle grids after existing barriers were altered to allow access to the moor to all types of bicycle.
Cllr Fenton said: “When the barrier base plates were removed in December 2021, the agreed mitigating measures had not been put in place.
“Councillors for Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield wards were told that this would be part of a second phase of work and were assured that efforts would be made to get this work done before the cattle came back on in April.
“It is very disappointing that this work hasn’t happened – if it had, recent events which have led to the cattle being removed from the moor could well have been avoided.”
He has asked the executive member for transport, Andy D’Agorne, for an urgent update on the plans, and for better engagement with local people in future.