Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 14:58 UK

Electric cattle fencing upsets Isles of Scilly locals

Electric fencing on Isles of Scilly
Islanders want fencing taken down if animals are not grazing

A petition has been started on the Isles of Scilly calling for the removal of electric fencing erected by a wildlife trust.

The fencing was erected by the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust to allow cattle to graze in certain areas.

But it has divided the community and hundreds of islanders have signed a petition calling for it to be removed.

The trust says grazing with moveable electric fencing is a tried and tested way of managing habitat.

Trust spokesman Stephen Manning told BBC News the cattle helps to keep grass cropped and allows wildflowers to flourish.

Dung from the animals also provides a good habitat for the islands' invertebrates, the trust said.

In the past year the trust has received more than £100,000 in European Union grants to help fund its conservation plans, which also include burning back some areas.

But islanders Dave Badcock and Phill Deason claim there is no place on the Scillies for electric fences and they should be removed.

Isles of Scilly from the air
Tourism is very important to the economy of the Isles of Scilly

They have started a petition which has already been signed by hundreds of people.

Mr Badcock said some of the fencing allows cattle to roam on footpaths, which causes damage.

Other islanders want the fencing and posts removed when cattle are moved to another area.

The fencing has also been criticised by visitors.

"Some of the paths have been completely ruined and the access we used to have years ago has been restricted, which is a shame for us as tourists and the locals," Chas Nethercott, who was on holiday on Bryher, said.

The wildlife trust said it was trying to do its best for the islands and it wants to work with residents to agree good access for walkers and a better future for wildlife.

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