IN your report (Observer, April 25) of the tree felling at the Link Road site in Sidley, the county council ensures us that nesting birds are being protected, and that all felling work is preceded by a search of the area for birds, bats and dormice.
Having watched the tree felling operations myself, I simply can’t accept that its ecologists are able to identify all vulnerable birds and animals, and remove them to safety. The trees and scrub in that area are dense, and it’s simply not credible that they would be able to find and save all the wildife.
And even if one were to believe that, as they claim, they don’t cut down the individual trees in which birds are nesting, those birds would then find themselves in a tree in the middle of an otherwise clear cut area - hardly a good position to be in, in terms of finding food or protecting their young.
While we were there last week, trees were being felled very rapidly, with no time for more than the most cursory glance into their branches to check for nesting birds. In addition, there were two baby squirrels which approached us and clung to our legs, clearly lost and distressed. This is not normal behaviour in squirrels and suggests that they had had their nest destroyed and had lost their parents.
The RSPB is very clear in its advice: to protect nesting birds, trees should not be felled between March 31 and August 1. That the county council is choosing to fell hundreds of trees right in the middle of the nesting season shows its utter disregard for the protection of wildlife. All that matters is building the road as fast and as cheaply as possible.
According to the RSPB’s State of Nature report from 2013, the UK has lost in the region of 44 million breeding birds since the late 1960s. Much of this loss is due to destruction of habitats. Building the Link
Road is causing a huge loss of habitat for birds and other wildlife along the whole length of the road. Once lost, it will never be recovered.
Anyone walking through Combe Haven today will see absolute devastation where once there was a beautiful and biodiverse area of countryside.
The Link Road is a disaster for wildlife, a disaster for the environment, and a disaster for us, being not only forced to watch the wanton destruction of our countryside, but also having to pay for it.
Whatever the county council says about protecting wildlife and planting new trees, the reality is that they have no concern whatsoever for nature, as evidenced by this appalling episode.