Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence.

Developers, and other interested parties are circumventing laws protecting birds by 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting. This facilitates the uprooting of hedgerows which aid biodiversity and provide the only remaining nesting sites for birds, whose numbers are in sharp decline.

This petition closed on 18 Sep 2019 with 365,508 signatures

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Recent Documents related to Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence.

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Found: Petition on netting hedgerows 1 2. Legislation protecting nesting birds 2 3. Hedgerows and wildlife

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Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence.

1. Bird Nesting Sites: Protection
13/05/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: considered e-petition 244233 relating to protecting nesting sites for birds.It is a pleasure to speak - Speech Link

2. World Health: 25-Year Environment Plan
09/04/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: lays claim to areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest, marine conservation - Speech Link
2: include in law the protection of nesting sites of returning migratory birds such as swallows, swifts and - Speech Link
3: than any other species and is rare to the UK, nesting only on Lundy island and the Isles of Scilly. I - Speech Link
4: such as Green Shoots, links members to local biodiversity plans and wildlife management that the countryside - Speech Link
5: mind. First, the environmental plan talks about protecting and enhancing the natural environment. Secondly - Speech Link

3. Songbirds
28/06/2018 - Grand Committee

1: the decline in songbird numbers and the threat that invasive non-native species pose to such birds. - Speech Link
2: hushed, reverent tones used to describe our “iconic” birds of prey, charismatic seabirds or enigmatic waders - Speech Link

4. Puffin Habitats
26/06/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: funniest, cutest and most determined birdlife choose to make home for their families every year. From Lindisfarne - Speech Link

5. Driven Grouse Shooting
31/10/2016 - Westminster Hall

1: the welfare of people. Something in our national make-up certainly seems to be drawn out when it comes - Speech Link
2: extremely ignorant and misleading, because the birds are completely wild. Does he agree that there is - Speech Link
3: other wildlife, including some of our national birds of prey in particular. I am aware that many other - Speech Link
4: might actually make flooding worse and more likely to happen. I am particularly interested in hearing the - Speech Link
5: essential to protect grouse, which are ground-nesting birds. That includes the black grouse, which is one - Speech Link

6. High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill (Second sitting)
25/06/2019 - Public Bill Committees

1: ancient trees, including those on construction sites which will not be designated for long term railway - Speech Link
2: tree felling, with particular reference to bird nesting and breeding seasons; of wildlife habitat corridors; - Speech Link
3: to engage with relevant stakeholders and interested parties through the national environment forum and - Speech Link
4: his colleague, and valiantly so. The idea is to make your speech when moving the new clause, but all - Speech Link
5: will impact on the natural environment—wildlife, birds and trees. The report could be laid before the Select - Speech Link

7. Eider Duck: Marine Conservation Zones
23/02/2018 - Commons Chamber

1: conservationist but, although St Francis preached to the birds, Northumberland’s own St Cuthbert is popularly believed - Speech Link

8. Lowland Curlew
17/10/2017 - Westminster Hall

1: this debate in the context of a crisis of species decline across these islands. For me, the curlew is special - Speech Link

9. Insect Population
20/03/2019 - Westminster Hall

1: time to intervene, but I hope that they will let me make a bit of progress first. I secured this important - Speech Link
2: bee colonies, which are produced especially to provide that pollination service, but even those could - Speech Link
3: because there is no need to cut back grass, and provide an essential habitat for pollinators, spiders and - Speech Link
4: increasingly have to intervene in ecosystems to provide them. A good example is that trees draw carbon - Speech Link
5: looking at is nature reserves and a long-term decline, a 76% decline in the abundance of flying things on those - Speech Link
6: Committee, does he agree that the reduction of insect numbers is especially worrying for the economy, that the - Speech Link

10. Tree Pests and Diseases
13/02/2020 - Lords Chamber

1: especially to trees.The damage done to ground-nesting birds by another species imported from North America - Speech Link

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Recent Questions related to Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence.
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'Netting' hedgerows threatens declining species of birds, presents a danger by entrapment to wildlife, and produces large amounts of plastic waste.

This is how Jeremy Vine responded to reports of 'netting' in preparation for hedgerow removal:

This is how the human race ends, everybody.

We cover hedges with nets.
We get permission to build flats because there are no birds.
Then we live in the flats and feel pleased that no birdsong wakes us in the morning.
Then we die.

Sometimes I hate us.

Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

54,731 signatures - 15.0% of total

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Government Response

Causing suffering to birds is already criminal. Planning authorities have enforceable powers to protect bird habitats and will soon be able to mandate that developers provide biodiversity net gain.

Wild birds and their nests are already protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a bird by an act, or a failure to act, where the person concerned knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would or be likely to cause unnecessary suffering. Anti-bird netting can, however, be appropriate in a few exceptional circumstances, to protect birds during construction work, or where birds have been identified as a health hazard.

Every local authority also has power to impose conditions when it grants planning permission, and these conditions can specify what information it needs to understand and protect any wildlife on the application site, and at what time of year development may take place. The authority can also use planning conditions to prevent disturbance on parts of a site, and stipulate how the phases of construction should be managed to avoid harm to biodiversity.

On 8 April 2019, in response to public concern about anti-bird netting around permissioned or potential development sites, a letter from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government was forwarded to major house-builders. It reminded them of their legal obligation to consider the impact of any project on local wildlife and take precautionary action to protect habitat. The Secretary of State was clear that if developers do not follow their obligations, he has not ruled out further action to protect our country’s valuable ecological system. Following this, major house-builders announced an end to the practice on their sites.

Our National Planning Policy Framework expects planning policies and decisions to enhance the natural environment by minimising the impacts of development on, and providing net gains for, biodiversity. We plan to require developers to deliver biodiversity net gain, under the forthcoming Environment Bill. Local authorities will be able to make certain that avian habitat is left in a measurably better state than it was before development.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (

MPs spoken contributions during 13 May 2019 petition debate

Conservative Heather Wheeler (View contribution) 1653 words Cheryl Gillan (View contribution) 1521 words Hugo Swire 1175 words Bill Grant 611 words
Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb 69 words
Scottish National Party John McNally (View contribution) 1131 words