Welcome to Guildford, where Sladen Estates has covered eleven trees to prevent birds from nesting in them, thus allowing them to be cut down. According to a council leader, the mover was ‘unacceptable,’ whereas the renowned author Philip Pullman termed the act as ‘ugly’ on Twitter.
Sladen Estates has plans of building a total of 191 homes on the site. The developer has not released any statement about why it has been done. However, it did claim that it has followed sound advice when doing so. A statement by Sladen Estates states, ‘We understand the strength of reaction to the netting of trees at Walnut Tree Park, Guildford but want to reassure everyone that we have taken the correct advice.’
Simon Cowell, hailing from Leatherhead-based Wildlife Aid, has said that the process is very risky and can cause damage to animals. He said, ‘the process is incredibly dangerous, even on the outside, with animals able to get their feet stuck. I presume it is so they can build without disturbing nesting birds, which is illegal.’
According to a tweet by the author Philip Pullman, the netting was ‘ugly and wicked and destructive.’ Paul Spooner, the leader of the Guildford Borough Council, has stated that the site did not have any active planning permission. He further said, ‘Netting those trees to avoid any potential disruption to a developer I thought was unacceptable. This was not a particularly clever move by the developer as it has just highlighted to everyone involved in the decision-making process the potential plight of those trees.’
According to a spokesman from RSPB, ‘We would ask that developers do this tree and hedge removal work outside the breeding season so that netting is never needed. However it is legal, so if absolutely necessary, it’s crucial that it be done properly to minimize the risks to wildlife.’ What do you think about this? Did Sladen Estates make the right move?