Bird lovers in no doubt tree removal has damaged habitats

HABITATS have already been damaged by tree clearance at the former Kenilworth Vinery, but local bird lovers are pleased the work has been put on hold.

The removal of trees from the former Kenilworth Vinery site has been stopped, but the RSPB believes that birds’ nests will have been destroyed.     (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30850378)
The removal of trees from the former Kenilworth Vinery site has been stopped, but the RSPB believes that birds’ nests will have been destroyed. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30850378)

Nesting season is from March to July and islanders are advised not to cut hedging or shrubbery during that time in order to keep birds safe and allow them to grow strong enough to fly elsewhere.

But diggers were out at the St Sampson’s site on Monday, tearing away a number of trees ahead of a planning application for a new Guernsey Housing Association development.

‘I was extremely surprised to see it happening at this time of year,’ said Guernsey RSPB committee member Ian Le Page.

‘We tell people not to cut their hedges at this time of year and then you see that sort of destruction.’

He said there would likely have been a vast array of birds residing there, including blackbirds, finches and sparrows.

GHA chief executive Steve Williams said there was no evidence of birds nesting there, with which Mr Le Page disagreed.

‘There would have almost certainly been some habitat destruction.’

The work was halted on Monday, after anger from neighbours. It will not restart until July.

Mr Le Page said delaying the work until the end of July would allow the birds to fledge and mature before migrating elsewhere.

La Societe ornithology section president Julie Davis said birds and wildlife were vital to consider when planning new developments.

‘There is legislation that protects nesting birds and I think it says that nesting birds can’t knowingly be disturbed, that is against the law,’ she said.

‘When La Societe respond to planning applications of this kind they would always put in about taking care not to disturb the birds.’

She said they will be holding an awareness raising campaign about not hedge cutting during breeding season.

‘It is good practice before cutting vegetation to check for nesting birds.’

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