'Netting' Hedgerows and Nesting Sites

Thank you for contacting me about hedgerow and tree netting.

I share your concern about the misuse of anti-bird netting. Any development project must consider the impact on local wildlife and take precautionary action to protect habitats, and it is important that practices such as netting are used only when necessary. It must only be used to protect birds during construction and even then outside the nesting and breeding season. It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause unnecessary suffering to a bird and anyone who willingly does so could face prosecution.

I am aware that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government recently set out the Government’s views in an open letter to major developers. He made clear that using anti-bird netting unnecessarily to prevent birds from nesting is not acceptable.

I want developments to enhance our natural environment, which is why I am encouraged that the Government has announced plans to require developers to deliver a ‘biodiversity net gain’ – meaning wildlife habitats must be left in a measurably better state than they were before any development started. The revised National Planning Policy Framework is also clear that planning policies and decisions should enhance the natural and local environment by minimising the impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

May 2019