Outrage over 'disgusting' anti-wildlife netting in Watnall

Wildlife campaigners have slammed netting that has been placed over a hedge in Watnall, to stop birds from nesting.

The controversial nets have been installed on Main Road, Watnall, and have triggered angry reactions.

Picture courtesy of Stewart Abbott @birdman1066

Picture courtesy of Stewart Abbott @birdman1066

Alan Stewart, a member of the Wildlife Trust said: "The netting is a disgrace.

"Not only does it stop birds from nesting, it is trapping small mammals.

"People are getting upset, it's appalling and disgusting."

The nets are designed to stop birds nesting. If birds are nesting, developers cannot cut down trees, which slows down work on building projects.

The location of the netting, from the 'nesting not netting' interactive map

The location of the netting, from the 'nesting not netting' interactive map

Although the nets stop the birds from building their nests, birds can also become trapped and injured as a result of trying to get through netting.

"It's come as a complete shock to me" Added Mr Stewart.

Aero Fabrications,who placed the netting, released a statement after being contacted by residents.

It said: "Over the last few days, we have received a number of enquiries from residents regarding the installation of hedgerow netting on Main Road in Watnall. For residents who are not aware, this is in preparation for construction works of our new facility which starts on May 7th 2019.

"From listening to residents, it’s clear that there is concern about the effect of netting on local wildlife and questions regarding the adherence of environmental procedures.

"To help address those concerns, we have spoken to the agency responsible for installation of the netting, who have confirmed the following:

"Hedgerows were checked for bird and other wildlife activity before and after installation, with no wildlife found trapped inside the hedges. Joints were carefully constructed and the net was pinned or strapped as low as possible to ensure wildlife cannot gain access.

"The purpose of the netting is to encourage birds to nest elsewhere, rather than preventing them nesting altogether. Birds can nest in other hedgerows located nearby protecting them from disturbance during future development works.

"Any criminal damage or vandalism of the net can create access points for wildlife and cause a danger of entrapment for birds and/or wildlife.

"After speaking to the agency we are confident that the correct procedures and processes have been followed to protect birds and wildlife.

"However, we do understand that netting of hedgerows is a subject which some residents and other members of the public feel passionate about.

"We have agreed with the contractors to remove netting on the front boundary hedge. This will take place at the same time as a smaller section of hedge is removed and a temporary fence installed to secure the opening.

"We have requested a qualified representative to be on site while works take place to ensure wildlife and birds remain protected.

"This is due to be completed in the very near future. The remaining hedge will be removed and replaced after the nesting season."

Stewart Abbott from Belper, Derbyshire, has added netting locations he found to an interactive online map, called 'nesting not netting.'
Mr Abbott told the BBC 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.

A petition calling for the netting to be banned has gained over 317,000 signatures.