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New Ayres Byelaws 25 April 2005

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon Bill Henderson MHK, has made a new set of Byelaws in respect of land vested in DAFF which forms part of the Ayres National Nature Reserve.

Mr Henderson is particularly pleased to make these Byelaws for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants at the Ayres.

The minister said:

"It was just a year ago, on the 21st April 2004 in fact, that Tynwald unanimously supported my resolution That Tynwald is of the opinion that the Manx natural heritage is a jewel in the Islandís crown."

The Ayres National Nature Reserve (Department Land) Byelaws 2005 came into operation on Friday 22nd April.

The new Ayres Byelaws are made under the Wildlife Act 1990. The Act enables DAFF to make more specific provisions in terms of wildlife. However, the Byelaws also continue to provide for public access and amenity use of the Ayres.

The Byelaws will enable the Department to achieve a balance between the requirements of wildlife at the Ayres and public interest and enjoyment in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The public, dogs and vehicles will continue to be welcome in the Ayres, but may be asked not to enter certain parts of it during the bird breeding season. It may be necessary to keep dogs on a lead if appropriate under some circumstances.

Up to now, Department land at the Ayres have been subject to the Forestry (General) Byelaws, which make provision for access and amenity use of all land vested in DAFF, other than Sulby Claddagh. Separate Byelaws apply to Sulby Claddagh.

The Ayres have also been subject to a voluntary code of good practice to protect wildlife and the environment. This code is now included in the Ayres Byelaws.

A familiar face to regular users of the Ayres is that of Louise Samson, the Ayres Warden. Louise will be on hand to advise the public about wildlife and about access to DAFF land at the Ayres.

The Byelaws give the Ayres Warden powers to require the publicís assistance in protecting wildlife. The new Byelaws include provisions relating to litter, inappropriate fires, and damage and destruction of flora and fauna.

The Warden will let people know that they must stop doing anything which may be detrimental to the wildlife and environment in the area.

The Byelaws are backed up by penalties for offences under the Act. These offences range from doing anything to disturb, harm or kill plants, animals or birds to overnight camping without permission. Only certain sorts of purpose-designed camping stoves may be used in the area, and no litter may be deposited.

Dog owners may be required to keep their pets on a lead during the bird nesting season, for example, and must not allow their dog to disturb anyone else. From time to time, the natural lifecycle of the wildlife will require access to some areas to be closed temporarily. It will be an offence to enter such areas.

The key issue is to achieve a balance between public use and enjoyment of a valuable and attractive area and the needs of the natural heritage which makes the area so valuable and attractive in the first place.

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