A STUDY has been launched to find out if the virus Louping Ill is killing off rare golden plover on the North York Moors.

Bracken, which can take over and ruin rare moorland habitat, harbours ticks that transfer the Louping Ill virus to lambs, hares and red grouse.

If the study results are conclusive, it is hoped Government funding will be made available to control the growth and spread of bracken on open moorland.