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Southern Water bans anti-nesting nets in projects

Southern Water has banned the use of nets intended to prevent birds nesting in trees and bushes as part of its engineering projects.

The decision follows a joint statement from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, which expressed concern over recent reports of widespread use by planners and housing developers.

Dr Nicola Meakins, Southern Water's environmental manager, said: “The practice of netting so that trees and bushes scheduled for removal due to development can be cleared during the nesting season puts wildlife at risk and is generally ineffective, so I was delighted that our Partnership Environmental Working Group, the engineering firms who regularly work on our major projects, were so receptive to a ban.

“It is not a practice that any of them would have regularly used but putting a firm policy in place ensures we remain at the forefront of best practice – the only place Southern Water are happy to be.”

She added: “Banning this controversial and frankly pointless practice will also help support another company-wide goal – reducing and eventually eliminating single-use plastic."

Southern Water's principal ecologist, Tom Ryan, said: “Our partners work with us long before works begin and ensure that where vegetation needs to be removed it is done well before the nesting season.

"In the event anything needs to be cleared after March, an ecologist will conduct a careful survey. Any nests found must be left undisturbed.”

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: birds , policy , Ecology , Southern Water , engineering , wildlife

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