Devon council to debate controversial anti-bird ‘netting’

A Devon council is to debate the controversial use of ‘netting’ in which large nets are thrown over hedges to stop birds nesting.

Growing national concerns about the practice, sometimes used by developers to avoid delays to building works has already sparked a petition to Parliament with over 200,000 signatures.

Devon councillor, Alan Connett, is also calling on local district councils like Teignbridge to take action.

The vast majority of planning applications are decided by local councils like Teignbridge, Exeter City and South Hams District Council

He has submitted a Motion to Teignbridge which is due to go before the council meeting later this month (Thursday 18 April).

The council is being asked to call on developers in the district not to use netting and also to lobby the Government to ban the practice at all sites with planning consent or identified for potential development.

Cllr Connett explained:” I really hope we don’t see netting being used locally. However, now is the time to act to stop this awful practice. At the moment, I would hope developers would voluntarily agree not to use netting and councils like Teignbridge could decide to oppose the use while Government is lobbied to act nationally.

“Teignbridge Council will debate this on 18 April and I really hope this will get support across the Council chamber.”

The RSPB says on its website that while the practice of netting is legal, the RSPB would like planners and housing developers to take some important points into consideration.

It adds that developers should 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, adds the RSPB, then the use of netting could be avoided by tree and hedge removal being completed outside of nesting season (September – February) and replacement hedging and trees should be planted.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

The Motion submitted to Teignbridge Council is below:

“Ban the use of netting at development sites

Teignbridge District Council has a long and established record of environmental protection and protecting wildlife.

Council is greatly concerned by the growing trend of developers using netting over hedgerows at development sites to stop birds nesting and other wildlife using the hedges.

This is wrong and runs against the best interests of supporting and enhancing local wildlife.

We call on all developers not to use netting in Teignbridge. Additionally, we call on Government to ban the use of netting at all sites with planning consent or identified in Local or emerging Local Plans.”

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