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Bracken control is an important part of moorland management and reducing the area of bracken, which is an ideal habitat for sheep ticks, helps to reduce the spread of Lyme disease; each year it is estimated that around 3,000 people in the UK contract Lyme disease from a tick bite.
The aim of bracken control is to prevent the plant spreading over large areas and smothering other plants. Where this occurs, there can be an economic impact through loss of grazing and a reduction in shooting potential, and the range of plant and animal species present can be reduced. There are virtually no winners and therefore the Trust believes that efforts to control bracken should be encouraged at every opportunity.
The ban on the main chemical control product, Asulam, when it comes into full effect, next year, is very significant and will reduce the ability of landowners and managers to control bracken. The Trust is pleased to have been asked to coordinate the activity of The Bracken Control Group, which will be seeking to find a way to maintain a supply of Asulam until the product can be re-registered for normal use.