The subject of netting of hedges to exclude birds during the nesting season and the removal of habitat is an important issue. Whilst William Davis Homes is content that our actions have entirely followed English Nature’s Standing Advice for development affecting birds, that we always comply with both planning consents and the Countryside & Wildlife Act, we have reviewed the use of netting to exclude birds prior to the nesting season with the stated intention of avoiding its use on all new developments or phases of development.
Having gained Reserved Matters planning consent on Monday April 1st and in order to provide continuity of production on site we will be removing 200m of low grade hedge which remained netted this week. All other netting was removed from Skylarks during the course of Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd April. We have consulted with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust regarding the length of hedge to be removed and the works will be supervised by a consultant ecologist.
In mitigation for the loss of hedgerow at Skylarks we have implemented a landscape and habitat creation scheme which will improve biodiversity on site. This first phase of the scheme is now complete and has provided 31,500m2 of habitat and included the planting of 60 trees. Over the next five months the next phase of mitigation works will commence, this includes planting a further 270 trees and the provision of bat roosts, a hedgehog highway and over 9,500m2 of wildflower grassland. There will be no further loss of hedgerow until this scheme of mitigation has been substantially completed.
During the course of the development as a whole more than 350 trees, 300m of new hedgerow and over 50,000m3 of grassland habitat (the majority of which is wildflower grassland) will be created at Skylarks outside of individual private garden areas.