Shropshire

Anti-bird netting on Ludlow hedge ripped down

Hedgerow Image copyright Andy Boddington
Image caption Andy Boddington said tearing down the netting was "a stupid way of protesting"

Mesh netting preventing birds from nesting in hedgerows has been torn down in Shropshire.

Developers put the green nets up ahead of 200 new houses being built off the A4117 in Rocks Green, Ludlow.

Ludlow North councillor Andy Boddington believes netting should be illegal or subject to regulated circumstances, but said tearing down the net was "a stupid way of protesting".

Environmental and bird protection groups "advise against netting".

Housing developers around the country use netting to make it easier to remove greenery to ensure they are not hampered by the growing nesting season.

Naturalist Chris Packham has condemned the "ghastly" practice, describing it as the "antithesis of everything conservation stands for".

A national petition to make netting hedgerows a criminal offence has attracted more than 319,000 signatures.

Lib Dem Mr Boddington claimed the deliberate removal of the meshing was "not an act by the developer or the landowner - it was an action by eco-protesters".

"But this is a stupid way of protesting," he added.

Image copyright Andy Boddington
Image caption The meshing had been in place since mid-March

A demonstration against the Shropshire scheme was due to take place on Sunday.

The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) "urge professional ecologists to think very carefully before recommending netting and for developers to consider the potential negative impact on wildlife and local communities in their activities".

Mr Boddington said: "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 inspection."

The BBC has contacted Pickstone Homes to see if the netting will be reinstalled.

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