Greater Cambridge Partnership criticised for plans to install bird netting
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The Greater Cambridge Partnership has been roundly criticised for plans to install bird netting, which is now widely known to be dangerous to birds.
The GCP said the Stourbridge Common to Ditton Fields jetty in Cambridge is being closed for five days from 8am on Monday, October 25 to 5pm on Friday, October 29 for “bird netting installation and final safety checks”.
The GCP has told the Cambridge Independent the netting was intended to help prevent bird mess causing corrosion.
The announcement immediately drew a chorus of disapproval online from commentators pointing out that bird netting is harmful to birds and contrary to aims to increase biodiversity in Cambridgeshire.
Clare King tweeted: “Bird netting kills and injures birds. Regularly. Why on earth would you use it?”
And Fews Lane Consortium pointed out that it was a strange way to meet the ambitions for “doubling nature”.
In March, a huge outcry prompted Cambridge Water to remove bird netting off Butt Lane in Milton and off Waterbeach Road in Landbeach.
The company said it was “very sorry” and arranged its removal.
And in February 2020, the University of Cambridge was prompted to “unreservedly” apologise for putting nets over 20 trees beside the expanding Whittle Laboratory on the West Cambridge site.
That move had prompted fierce criticism, including from conservationist and TV presenter Chris Packham. Some Extinction Rebellion campaigners removed some of the nets overnight.
The university accepted that it was wrong to put the nets up and removed the rest of them.
The RSPB opposes the use of bird netting and has said it is concerned by developers’ use of it, often to prevent nesting.
In places where netting has been installed, the RSPB says:
“It is essential that a trained ecologist ensures the correct netting is fitted in a way that wildlife cannot get through or behind the netting and then become trapped.
“It is essential that netting is checked at least once a day (but ideally three times) by a trained ecologist to ensure that no wildlife is caught or that the netting has become defective. If any wildlife is seen to be caught within or trapped behind netting they must be freed immediately and the netting fixed or removed.
“If anyone perceives that the user is aware that wildlife is being caught but has not remedied the situation, then the police wildlife crime officer should be informed.”
The Cambridge Independent has asked the Greater Cambridge Partnership for further comment over these concerns.