Last night, the petition against the growing practice of netting hedges and trees to prevent birds nesting passed 200,000 signatures. It is still growing.
Campaigners are to meet to protest against the hedge netting at Rocks Green at 11am on Sunday 14 April, SY8 2DS. More than 6,000 people have joined the Facebook group, Nesting not Netting!
Ecologists and the RSPB have issued a new statement advising against netting and, should it be deemed necessary, for inspections every three hours.
I have written to Ludlow’s MP Philip Dunne asking him to act and attend the forthcoming debate in parliament.
There is now a nationwide movement against netting. The Shropshire Star devoted a feature article to the practice yesterday.
Locally, the row blew up after netting was installed at Rocks Green on the outskirts of Ludlow. Council planners gave permission for a 200-home development in January. The hedging is to be removed for an access road for the development. This is the first time we have seen netting in Ludlow and it shouldn’t have been necessary. The scheme was ready for approval last September but it took five months for the planning permission to be issued. The hedge could have been cleared over the winter. After I spoke to Pickstock Homes a couple of weeks ago, the hedge netting at Rocks Green was reinstalled to prevent access by birds and small mammals.
This failed immediately – see my letter to Philip Dunne below.
Several Ludlow residents have contacted Shirehall about Rocks Green. That triggered a statement from the council. It doesn’t say much but is illustrated by a nice picture of a gorse hedge on the sandy soils of the Exbury Estate in Hampshire. The council must think there are no hedges worth photographing in Shropshire!
Campaigners are now organising a protest at Rocks Green at 11am on Sunday 14 April, SY8 2DS.
My letter to local MP Philip Dunne calls default position for the default position should be that netting is illegal. There may be some cases where netting cannot be avoided. These should subject to prior approval by the local authority and subject to strict guidelines on installation and regular inspection approved by the CIEEM and RSPB.
Letter to Philip Dunne MP for Ludlow
3 April 2019
Hedge and tree netting
You will be aware of the growing over row developers netting hedges and trees to prevent birds nesting. This has been extensive coverage in the national and local press. Yesterday, the Shropshire Star ran a full-page feature on the controversy. The protests featured on Farming Today this morning.
Reports from all over the country show that wildlife is being trapped in netting. I received the following report about Rocks Green last weekend:
“Went to view the awful rocks green hedge netting yesterday. There were birds trapped in the hedge & couldn’t get out. A few sparrows & a Robin! There was also evidence at ground level that an animal had been trying to chew through the netting to get out! (Probably a hedgehog)”
Wildlife experts have confirmed that this was almost certainly hedgehog escaping the netting trap.
The Facebook group, Nesting not Netting!, has over 6,000 members. A petition to parliament calling for the practice to be banned now has well over 200,000 signatures. That will trigger a Westminster Hall debate. Given your strong views on protecting the environment, I hope that you will be able attend and support the cause for a ban other than under the most strictly regulated circumstances.
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the RSPB yesterday issued a statement calling for a much stricter regime, including inspection of the netting every three hours.
I think we should go further. The default position should be that netting is illegal. There may be some cases where netting cannot be avoided. These should subject to prior approval by the local authority and subject to strict guidelines on installation and regular inspection approved by the CIEEM and RSPB.