The essential journalist news source
Southern Water Bans Anti-nesting Nets from Engineering Projects

Southern Water Bans Anti-nesting Nets from Engineering Projects

Following a joint statement from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Southern Water have banned the use of nets intended to prevent birds nesting in trees and bushes.

 "The practice of netting so that trees and bushes scheduled for removal due to development can be cleared during the nesting season puts wildlife at risk and is generally ineffective, so I was delighted that our Partnership Environmental Working Group the engineering firms who regularly work on our major projects were so receptive to a ban," said Dr Nicola Meakins, Environmental Manager.

 "It is not a practice that any of them would have regularly used but putting a firm policy in place ensures we remain at the forefront of best practice - the only place Southern Water are happy to be."

Ecologist Tom Ryan added: "Our partners work with us long before works begin and ensure that where vegetation needs to be removed it is done well before the nesting season. In the event anything needs to be cleared after March, an ecologist will conduct a careful survey. Any nests found must be left undisturbed."

 "Banning this controversial and frankly pointless practice will also help support another company wide goal - reducing and eventually eliminating single-use plastic," Dr Meakins added.


Notes to Editors:

  • Dr Nicola Meakins blog on the issue can be found here:
  • The use of nets has sparked controversy in the media. Some developers net bushes so that trees can be felled and bushes cleared during the spring nesting season.
  • The nets trap birds, can actually encourage nesting where birds can get inside them and are considered by Southern Water and its partners to be ineffective.
  • Southern Water is the first utility company to institute an outright ban and we have not found any major developers who have yet banned the practice.