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Natural England welcomes government statement on netting

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Wildlife

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Natural England welcomes the letter from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Secretary, James Brokenshire, urging developers to take more care of wildlife habitats whilst carrying out building work.

Over the past few days members of the public have been understandably distressed by the use of netting in some circumstances to prevent nesting by birds on development sites.

All wild birds are protected by law. Natural England does not regulate the use of netting, but it is essential that developers look at the most suitable option for complying with the law.

Survey reports and mitigation plans are required for projects that could affect protected species. This is part of the planning permission process.

The surveys will need to show whether protected species are present, and how they use the site. Mitigation plans need to show how developers will avoid or manage any negative impacts on protected species. In some limited circumstances netting may have a role to play in avoiding temporary impacts.

It is for those who install exclusion measures such as netting to ensure the mesh size of netting is suitable for the species involved and is properly maintained to ensure that they don’t commit offences against wild birds.

Where developers or local authorities feel they have no other options but to use netting we would always advise they follow best practice, including use of appropriate material to avoid entanglement. This should also be properly maintained and monitored and use is kept to an absolute minimum, both in terms of time and area covered.

In the future the concept of Net Gain, as embedded in the draft Environment Bill, will mean developers will need to be able to demonstrate that they can go even further, beyond avoiding harm to delivering overall benefit for wildlife and habitats.

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  1. Comment by jan chalmers posted on

    Instead of ADVISING developers and local authorities to follow best practise you should INSIST, AND MAKE IT LAW … There will always be a legal loophole that developers/local authorities will find so for the sake of our beautiful country and to avoid any future conflict with public opinion why do you not put these laws into place before allowing these acts to take place. It seems that there are some thoughtless acts passed by thoughtless people and by preventing the outrage of the majority of the population with a bit more thought about the outcomes surely it would be beneficial both morally and financially.

  2. Comment by K Davies posted on

    Developers should be encouraged or forced to include existing hedges and trees into their plans. With the added benefit that there is established habitat there when the building work finishes. Some of the roadside hedges that have been 'netted' would enhance the development from a biodiversity and aesthetic point of view. It is criminal that they propose and are allowed to remove them at all.

  3. Comment by Alan Britton posted on

    Loved the pun about "Net Gain"