Category Archives: Environment & Climate Change

Developers anti-bird nest nets coming under flak

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If you’ve been looking at things while you walk/drive around over the last few years, you’ve probably become aware of hedges and trees being contained in netting.

No, it’s not to stop the flora in question getting away – it’s actually designed to stop birds nesting so developers can tear said vegetation out without getting into trouble.

Horrible, really, and it may be coming to an end – if environmentalists have their way.

According to grassroots campaigners, the unpleasant practice has escalated enormously this spring – which in turn is being driven by a 78% rise in housebuilding.

The nets, in theory, stop birds nesting, which means developers can’t be prosecuted for destroying nests when they destroy hedgerows.

However, the practice has been noticed by the keen-eyed – and campaigners have filmed birds and other animals trapped within the netting on some sites.

And here’s a disturbing fact: the UK has lost 120,000 miles of hedgerow since the 1950s.

Not unsurprisingly, some have been moved to take down netting when they come across it, with one Twitter user enthusing that all you need is a ‘sharp Stanley knife’.

David Savage, of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, removed netting from hedgerows near a nature reserve in Wingerworth. He said: ‘It has gone crazy this year. There seem to be more and more nets being used.

‘I would like to see it banned altogether; it is completely unnecessary. It really does feel like nature is an inconvenience to developers that needs to be sorted out, and meanwhile we are losing species at a dramatic rate. We need new legislation which is better and more fit for purpose on this.’

In a joint statement, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, and Natural England said: ‘Netting is an overly simplistic approach that has become more prominent recently. There is an understandable negative reaction from both the public and from professional ecologists to the real and potential harm that it may cause to wildlife.’

Have you seen this netting in action in your area? Have you been inspired to take action? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Whether it’s balmy winters or extreme summers, is your organisation prepared for climate change?

Sandbags.jpgAs the country basked in unseasonably warm temperatures for February, the sector could perhaps be forgiven for being a bit thankful for the relief it brought rough sleepers and tenants struggling to pay their heating bills.

Yet a nagging sense that something is amiss is difficult to shake, and this balmy weather could act as a precursor for greater challenges to come. A new report from the Committee on Climate Change has found that many UK homes are currently unfit for the issue of rising temperatures and subsequent extreme weather, stating that emissions generated by energy use from UK households has in fact increased between 2016-2017.

The report also states that efforts to adapt UK housing to the consequences of a changing climate – such as higher average temperatures and an increased risk of flooding, water scarcity and violent storms – are also lagging behind schedule, and cost-effective measures to get ahead of such scenarios are not being rolled-out quickly enough.

There is a strong sentiment that climate change and energy efficiency are becoming far too big for the UK and international community to ignore. There is also a recognition of the role housing has to play to ensure emission levels are lowered, while also ensuring homes old and new are resistant to the increasing risk of extreme weather events.

How prepared is your organisation, and what are you doing to tackle these urgent issues?

HQN has produced a survey in which we ask housing providers how ready they are for the challenges ahead. If you can spare five minutes, we would greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete it. All responses will be used for upcoming briefings and research into this critical issue, which will be shared among our members and discussed later this year at the HQN annual conference.

You can take the survey here.