The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the basic legislation that protects animals, plants, and certain habitats in the UK. All species of wild bird are afforded protection under Part 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Under this legislation it is illegal to: intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds; intentionally take, damage or destroy a wild bird’s nest while it’s being used or built; intentionally take or destroy a wild bird’s egg; possess, control or transport live or dead wild birds, or parts of them, or their eggs; sell wild birds or put them on display for sale; use prohibited methods to kill or take wild birds.
As you know, Bovis applied for planning permission for AVDC to remove the hedges and plant a new hedge in a different location, in order to allow for car park spaces as had been requested by local residents. In considering the application, AVDC took note of the statutory duties that the Wildlife and Country side Act imposes on Bovis. The Council has told me that in a case where statutory requirement exists, the local council will not duplicate in planning conditions but instead attaches what in planning jargon is called an informative which draws attention to what the law says. This is what AVDC did in this case. The Council would not be responsible for carrying out any enforcement action. Instead, concerns regarding the legality of the works to the hedge should be directed to the Police who are responsible for investigating and pursuing breaches of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The Council’s ecologist’s advice (which can be viewed on the AVDC website 16/02968/ADP) states that the bird nesting season usually covers the period from mid-February to the end of August, but it is very dependent on the weather and that certain species of birds may nest outside this period. If works are deemed to be necessary during the bird nesting season then there is a protocol to be followed and this is contained in the ecologist’s response which was attached to the planning decision.
Bovis has confirmed to me that a senior ecologist and assistant were on site today to carry out a bird nesting survey of the hedgerows. Independent ecologists FPCR confirmed that there are no nesting birds in the hedges to be removed. The hedge will be reduced to a manageable level and removed on Tuesday 28/2/17 once fencing has arrived to secure the site.