Derby

Developers 'must consider impact of nets' on trees and hedges

Hedges in Shelford Road, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire
Image caption More than 310,000 have signed a petition calling for netting on trees and hedges to be banned

Developers have been warned to consider the impacts of projects on wildlife, after a petition called for netting on trees and hedges to be banned.

Netting has increasingly appeared near housing developments to prevent birds from nesting.

The petition has been signed by more than 310,000 people.

The Ministry of Housing has now responded to it by writing to developers reminding them of their "legal obligations".

Stewart Abbott has added 130 cases of the practice to a map and said it showed "how widespread" it was.

The petition will now be considered for a Parliamentary debate.

'Kept to minimum'

The government statement said: "Netting trees and hedgerows is only appropriate where genuinely needed to protect birds from harm during development.

"Any development project must consider the impact on local wildlife and take precautionary action to protect habitat.

"Bird netting should be kept to a minimum, and used only to help protect birds during development."

Mr Abbott, 52, from Belper, Derbyshire, has added netting locations he found to an interactive map.

"Wildlife at the moment, especially in the UK, seems to be attacked from every angle with pesticides and herbicides," he said.

"This is just one more thing they seem to be attacking them with. It is just one step too far."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Stewart Abbott has collected data for the map from photos on Twitter

Mr Abbott said he had no objection to new housing or hedgerows being removed for access, but the problem was how developers "are going about it."

"It is time nature is given priority instead of something they think gets in the way of progress," he added.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government wrote: "It is vital developers take these words on board and play their full role to make sure we can deliver new communities in an environmentally sustainable way."

Three housing developers have already said they are removing nets and will reconsider their policy on using them in future.

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