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HS2 criticised over hedgerow netting in Bucks

HS2 criticised over hedgerow netting in Bucks

Published by Dan Gooding at 11:00am 4th April 2019.

There's been an angry reaction to netting being placed over hedgerows by HS2 near Quainton.

The practice has has been criticised across the country and the nets were spotted in Buckinghamshire earlier this week.

The nets usually stop birds nesting in trees marked for removal.

It's been hugely controversial, with lots of worries about the impact on birds during nesting season.

The RSPB say on their website:

While the practice of netting is legal, the RSPB would like planners and housing developers to take some important points into consideration.

We are also sending more detailed, technical guidance to all housebuilders so they can follow this best practice and contact us for any advice.

Their advice is:

  • Think about whether it is really necessary to remove the hedges and trees that are vital for supporting our wildlife;
  • Netting should not be the easy alternative. If the work is absolutely necessary, then the use of netting could be avoided by tree and hedge removal being completed outside of nesting season (September – February);
  • And, this should be backed up by a commitment to plant new trees and hedges - no one wants to live in a neighbourhood where the sights and sounds of nature have been driven out;
  • It is essential developers work with a trained ecologist to ensure appropriate netting is used and is not the type that will catch and hold birds and other wildlife;
  • It is also essential that a trained ecologist ensures the correct netting is fitted in a way that wildlife cannot get through or behind the netting and then become trapped;
  • It is essential that netting is checked at least once a day (but ideally three times) by a trained ecologist to ensure that no wildlife is caught or that the netting has become defective. If any wildlife is seen to be caught within or trapped behind netting they must be freed immediately and the netting fixed or removed;
  • If anyone perceives that the user is aware that wildlife is being caught but has not remedied the situation, then the Police Wildlife Crime Officer should be informed.

HS2 respond

HS2 have told us it's only temporary and will be removed once work is completed nearby.

An HS2 spokesperson said:

"The installation of this netting was carried out by HS2 contractors, as part of the pre-works for National Grid's gas pipeline diversion scheme.

"This temporary netting is to discourage birds from moving in during construction and was installed before the nesting season started.

"It will be removed once construction is completed, and all work is carried out under the supervision of suitably qualified ecologists."

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