Anger as hedge netting puts birds at risk in Shropshire
A housing developer has come under fire for covering hedgerows with green netting and endangering nesting birds and wildlife.
In January, Oswestry-based Pickstock Homes was given planning permission to build up to 200 homes at Rocks Green, Ludlow.
Preparatory work is underway, which includes covering some of the hedges with green netting.
The controversial practice, which has been criticised by wildlife expert Chris Packham, is used stop wildlife nesting in the hedgerows in the event of building work starting during the nesting season.
Carol Wood, from the south Shropshire branch of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said a number of members have raised concerns about the safety of the birds.
"It looks awful, I'm worried it will kill the hedge and it's not very good for biodiversity," she said.
"People are very, very worried about nesting birds which I can quite understand. I don't think the developer realises people in Ludlow are very fond of their green spaces and wildlife.
"It's getting towards nesting season and the birds are looking for places to settle. The hedge that has been covered has lots of insects and seeds in it which the birds like. They will go in and get trapped."
Councillor for Ludlow North, Andy Boddington, said he visited the site and could hear birds in the hedge.
"I could not see any nests but I would be surprised if there were none," he added.
"I don’t think this netting works. It is open at both ends and has many gaps along the length. Contrary to what the developers intend, it provides a sheltered haven for birds in prime nesting season.
"Many people believe that such netting simply acts to trap birds. This is not a new practice but its use seems to be growing.
"We must make every stride we can to protect birds and hedgehogs."
Councillor Boddington said he was contacted by Pickstock Homes who confirmed the work was being carried out under the supervision of an ecologist and that the gaps in the netting would be covered.
Pickstock Homes has been approached for comment