Royston councillor calls for trees not to be cut back during nesting season

PUBLISHED: 09:17 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:17 29 July 2020

Rook nests were damaged after trees were felled on the A505 roundabout in Royston earlier this year. Picture: Ray Munden

Rook nests were damaged after trees were felled on the A505 roundabout in Royston earlier this year. Picture: Ray Munden


Royston councillor Steve Jarvis is spearheading a drive to stop trees and hedges being cut back after birds have built their nests.

Cllr Steve Jarvis.Cllr Steve Jarvis.

Liberal Democrat Steve Jarvis believes that on a number of occasions this year contractors have cut back hedges or trees on behalf of the county council – even though they were known to contain nesting birds.

And as a result some of the nests – including some with eggs – could have been destroyed or deserted.

Councillor Jarvis believes trees and hedges should not be cut backing during the nesting season, which he estimates to be between April and July.

And at the full council meeting of Hertfordshire County Council on Tuesday last week, he put the case to fellow councillors.

Cllr Steve Jarvis.Cllr Steve Jarvis.

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In a written motion, Councillor Jarvis called on the council to note increasing concern about biodiversity and the need to protect wildlife throughout the county.

It asked councillors to note that “on a number of recent occasions, contractors working on behalf of the council have felled trees or cut hedges either known to contain nesting birds or during the season when this is likely to be the case”.

It also asked councillors to back his call for council officers to draw up proposals that would ensure that this does not happen again – except in an emergency.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Councillor Jarvis – who represents the Royston West and Rural division and who is also a member of North Herts District Council – stressed that most of this work is already done outside of the summer. But he pointed to hedge-cutting in April around the A505 and suggested that this was work that did not need to be done and could have waited.

READ MORE: Royston residents ‘appalled’ by destruction of bird nests on A505 roundabout

At the meeting of the full council the motion was formally proposed and seconded – but not debated. It will now be forwarded to one of the council’s cabinet panels for further consideration.

A spokesperson for HCC said: “We try to avoid doing any works on trees or hedges during the nesting season, and before starting any work we assess the impact it is likely to have on wildlife. If the risk to wildlife or birds is too great, we will postpone the works.

“However, sometimes the danger posed to highway users by trees is unacceptably high, and in those situations works are permitted to go ahead. We do try to avoid this wherever possible.”

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