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.