Responding to community concerns about plans by Staffordshire County Council to pilot fenced-off cattle grazing as part of their conservation programme for Cannock Chase, Hednesford Town Council has arranged a meeting to offer an opportunity for the local community to ask questions and air their views.

A representative from Staffordshire County Council’s environmental team will be present on Tuesday, July 23 at Pye Green Community Centre, to advise on the proposed fencing plans and explain the reasons behind the scheme.

Hednesford Town Council chairman, Paul Woodhead, said: “Every one of us in Hednesford and beyond has an immense pride in Cannock Chase and when residents came to a Town Council meeting asking for more information we have taken on their request to arrange a gathering open to the whole community.

“We feel it is important for people to be able to find out more about proposed changes and long-term plans.

“We’re pleased to say Staffordshire County Council have agreed to the public meeting and their environmental advice manager, Sarah Bentley, will join us to talk about the conservation initiatives and answer questions from the Hednesford community.”

Staffordshire County Council’s conservation proposals for Cannock Chase were formed following a public consultation which began in 2016. They say more than 300 responses from individuals, user groups and parish councils were taken into consideration before proposals were developed.

The small pilot scheme to return traditional low-level grazing in the Moors Gorse area of the Chase form part of wider conservation plans, supported by Natural England. Other methods to be employed include cutting and controlled burning of heather, the cutting and thinning of trees and scrub, and spraying bracken.

Previously, Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Cannock Chase, has said:

“The pilot grazing scheme will involve no more than six specially chosen cattle in a small area which will enable us to introduce the idea carefully and let people see how it will work in practice. All rights of way will be maintained and the fencing will be specially designed to allow deer to pass through and over, while restricting cattle.”

The meeting at Pye Green Community Centre, Bradbury Lane, Hednesford will begin at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 23 July and Hednesford residents are welcome to attend.

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