April 22, 2014 by combehavendefenders
Undeterred by the nesting season, East Sussex County Council is pressing on with its wildlife destruction project, aka the Link Road. Currently, they’re busy chopping all the trees in the railway cutting between Ninfield Road and Glover’s Lane in Sidley:
Contrary to RSPB advice
The RSPB advises that ‘tree felling should be avoided between mid March and August’ in order to avoid harming nesting birds. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to knowingly damage or destroy a live nest. However, in a handy get out clause, the Act goes on to say that it is in fact lawful to damage a nest if you can show ‘that the act was the incidental result of a lawful operation and could not reasonably have been avoided.’
Ecologists on alert?
ESCC tells us that the birds are OK: they have two ecologists on site at all times, who check each tree before it’s cut down. But the trees there are tall and densely clustered: it simply defies belief that ecologists, however sharp-eyed they might be, could be able to see nests at the top of a tree, or indeed, nests of birds which actually nest inside the tree trunk.
Something in the tree
On April 22, an ecologist was seen approaching a tree which had just been felled and removing something from it. Knowing that there were people watching, he covered it with a hard hat before taking it away. We couldn’t see what it was, but it was certainly nest-sized:
We also saw two baby squirrels, who came up to us and clung to our legs. This is not normal behaviour, and according to squirrel rescue organisations suggests that the babies have been away from their parents for some time and are seeking food and warmth.
Narrow window of opportunity
According to ESCC, the felling has to be done now (as opposed to outside the nesting season) because they need to put up acoustic fencing and do embankment stabilisation. They claim there is only a very narrow window to do the site clearance in between the various licensing periods for dormice and badgers. They say that it is a ‘fine balancing act’ to get the work done at the correct time. According to Chloe de Renzy Martin, ESCC’s PR person for the road, they’ll be felling most of the trees in the cutting; they had – she says – hoped to retain some but now find they need to remove most of them in order to install the acoustic fence.
Raise your voice against wildlife destruction.
Please take a few minutes to object to this gratuitous wildlife crime. Please contact:
2. Contact Chloe de Renzy-Martin, Link Road public relations officer: Chloe.DeRenzy-Martin@eastsussex.gov.uk, tel 01273 335743