Cows in Allestree Park to be controlled by collars playing melodies

More Highland cattle are to be released into a city’s parkland and fitted with sound-emitting collars to restrict their roaming.

Derby City Council wants to put more cows into Allestree Park as part of what it says will be the UK’s largest rewilding scheme.

It aims to used new technology to keep them penned into areas with “virtual fences” triggering the collars.

It said the move would improve biodiversity.

The council said the system, called NoFence, will play a melody as the cows approach the edge of the boundary which is set using GPS.

It said the beast would learn to turn back when the melody plays and if they attempted to cross the boundary, a small pulse would be emitted – similar to a conventional agricultural electric fence.

The council said The National Trust has already used the system effectively at Studland Bay in Dorset but said a physical fence would also be erected as a back up.

Jerry Pearce, Derby City Council’s cabinet member for streetpride, leisure and public spaces, added: “This is an excellent initiative which uses new technology to ensure we’re looking after nature in the park in the best way we can, while keeping it an attractive and welcoming place for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Allestree Park is a huge park, the biggest public green space we have in Derby, so there’s enough room for everyone, including more cattle.”

Once the fence is completed, the cows could be introduced by the autumn.

New habitats, like grasslands, wetland and community orchards are also being created at the 320-acre park, a former golf course, where cattle were first introduced in 2015.

The council said the presence of more cattle would not limit dog walking and other use of the park space.

Allestree Park

Allestree Park in Derby already has woodland, grassland and a lake

Katherine Clarke, strategic lead of urban rewilding at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Introducing more grazing cattle to Allestree Park has always been a key element of our shared vision to rewild the space.

“It will help to maintain the park’s grasslands, create a balanced ecosystem for a whole range of habitats, support carbon sequestration, and lower carbon emissions caused by alternative maintenance methods.”

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