What is tree netting?

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Spring is here and what a wonderful time! The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining down on us again and the birds are starting to build their nests. However, it’s not so easy for birds in some parts of the country, with reports of more tree and hedge netting.

Nets covering trees and hedges are used to make it easier for developers to remove greenery when they need to, as it remains an offence to destroy a bird’s nest. However, there are no laws against preventing birds from nesting in the first place.

Conservationists call the practice ‘ghastly’ and the RSPB agrees, stating that the UK has lost over 40 million birds in the last half-century. It is not new; the Woodland Trust thinks it’s been occurring for some years now.

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Where is this netting?

It is popping up all over the country, more often seen in areas that are being prepared for planned housing developments. Some protesters have been tying green ribbons to hedges and trees to highlight the issue. Due to pressure from bird lovers on social media, a Tesco store in Norwich took down their netting.

Currently, it is a legal practice and there are certain responsibilities when fitting the netting, that it must be fit properly and checked regularly so animals and birds do not get trapped in it.

People are angered by netting and a petition has been set up to make hedgerow netting a criminal offence. Despite claims that we are losing touch with nature, when something like this happens, it’s clear that we feel a very real connection to our local wildlife and greenery. An estimated 25 million regularly feed the birds in their gardens. Protect the wildlife in your garden and make sure your trees are healthy with a Tree Surgeon Poole, like Tree Surgeon Poole Kieran Boyland.

While, people do understand the pressures that housing developers are under, it’s imperative to find a solution that doesn’t mean nature comes last. A spokesperson from the Home Builders Federation has pointed out that netting is in line with planning consent and the Countryside and Wildlife Act. House building companies also planted 9 million trees and shrubs.

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Wildlife charities have criticised the practice of netting, saying it’s detrimental to wildlife and birds. It is deemed highly inappropriate to net trees and hedges during the breeding and nesting season.

The RSPB are asking the government to consider whether it is always necessary to remove hedgerows and trees when developing a new site for housing. If it is, the developers should be tasked with replacing every single plant they remove to support our wildlife.

The government has responded by stating that developers must consider developments that enhance the local natural environment. There are plans for developers to prove that their developments provide a ‘biodiversity net gain’. Other methods that could also be used include scaring away the birds or restricting their access to food, as opposed to netting.

 

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