A NEW nature reserve has been given the go-ahead in York.

Acomb Wood and Acomb Meadow have been owned by the council since 2002, before which they were privately owned.

Following a decision by Coun Keith Orrell, the executive member for leisure and culture, the area will now become a Local Nature Reserve (LNR), offering greater protection for the wood and meadow along with the creatures that live within it.

Stephen Whittaker, of the parks and open spaces team, said the decision would symbolise to the local community the importance of the site and the importance of nature conservation. He said that it would also open up new funding opportunities.

Councillors on the leisure and culture advisory panel gave the decision their full support.

Coun Brian Watson said it should have been done "years ago" while Coun Christopher Hogg said hopefully the decision would lead to more sites being designated local nature reserves in the future. Acomb Wood comprises mature trees, primarily oak but also with birch, hornbeam and hazel among others.The meadow has a thriving population of invertebrates which support animals higher up the food chain such as birds and shrews.