Parliament to debate banning netting of hedgerows after petition hits 100K signatures

All eyes have been on the Revoke Article 50 petition, which will comfortably pass 5 million signatures. Another petition I have been supporting aims to ban developers from netting hedges. The aim of developers is to ‘prevent’ birds nesting before hedges are cleared by bulldozers and trees felled with chainsaws. Netting is an ugly practice. It not only looks ugly but it traps all manner of wildlife.

At just after 10.00am on 24 March, the petition passed 100,000 signatures. That means it will be considered for a debate in parliament. We must all lobby our MPs to ensure that debate happens.

10.03am, 24 March 2019
Bird netting at Rocks Green, Ludford on the outskirts of Ludlow as initially installed

In an earlier article, I wrote of my concern over hedge netting at Rocks Green on the outskirts of Ludlow. The growing use of netting has been criticised by RSPB Cymru. The Wildlife Trusts have also condemned the practice:

“This practice demonstrates an alarming disregard for the welfare of wildlife, particularly during the nesting season, as birds are being blocked from nesting. Other wildlife that may rely on hedgerow habitat, such as stoats, bank voles and hibernating hedgehogs, could become trapped….”

“While not an illegal practice, we consider that netting hedges and trees during the nesting and breeding season is inappropriate.”

That about sums it up. No netting is impermeable. Many installations have gaps that allow birds and other animals to get inside.

Residents and conservationists have expressed concern about netting across the country. The BBC gives a good summary. There have been reports of birds being trapped in Berkshire and in Darlington.

It is time to have a debate on whether the practice should be outlawed, restricted or regulated. That debate should be held in parliament. I will be writing to my MP Philip Dunne to ask him to support a thorough debate.

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