Numerous people have contacted Shropshire Wildlife Trust to voice their concern over the netting of hedgerows by property developers, with examples coming from the Pontesbury, Cockshutt and Ludlow areas. It is carried out to try and prevent birds nesting and provide developers uninhibited opportunities to remove vegetation at a time of their choosing.
“The practice is abhorrent,” said Robin Mager of Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Our view is that hedgerows should be maintained wherever possible during construction works. If retention is not possible, then the minimum amount of vegetation should be cleared and this should be done outside the nesting season.
Disturbing nesting wild birds is illegal and clearance of hedgerows within five metres of an active nest is prohibited. Netting hedgerows is not against the law, but is nonetheless a very ugly practice. It frequently results in small mammals and birds finding their way inside the netting through gaps and tears. They then become trapped.
Much-loved features of the countryside and gardens, hedgerows provide vital habitats for wildlife, giving food, shelter and nesting places to many birds, small mammals and insects. They also provide highways for creatures to move along, connecting woods and other wild places.
“Against a backdrop of worldwide environmental degradation, the practice of hedgerow netting and the signal of destruction it conveys, is deeply disturbing. We call on developers to abandon the practice and put the protection of existing wildlife at the heart of their work programmes.”
Support the Wildlife Trusts’ campaign for a wilder future shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wilder-future