It has been sad to see the recent news about large developers and other corporations using netting to prevent birds from nesting in hedgerows that might disrupt the development of new homes in the British countryside. However, we have equally felt heartened by the public response to this story, in signing a government petition and launching the hashtags #NetsDownForNature and #NestsNotNets, which has now been shared almost 100,000 times.
As a sustainable housing developer, we work with nature, never against it. At each of our developments, we build around the existing wildlife and environment, and create landscape-led designs that are respectful of local architecture and the nature that was thriving in the area before our development.
Gareth Parry, of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who have used HAB Housing as a case study in their Building with Nature initiative, said:
“Netting is perfectly legal, as long as it’s done before the birds are ready to nest. But the barrier should be completely impenetrable, and then the birds will find somewhere else.
“We do recommend that hedgerows should be put back in a better condition than before the work started. There should be a net gain for wildlife. In his Spring Statement, the chancellor said that this will soon become mandatory for developers.”
Housing developers are not the only culprits of bird netting, which ultimately means birds are left with limited spaces to nest in their natural environment. Supermarkets and schools have been called out for using the nets in trees in their car parks and playing fields. Sadly, it seems large corporations are just following the lead of others, and putting profit before the environment.
We hope that with public reaction, including celebrities like Stephen Fry backing the campaign on social media and national media outlets covering the story, the government will put an end to netting, and more developers will follow our lead in creating developments that are sustainable not just for people and the planet, but for local wildlife too.
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