Fears for nesting birds as rail firm scales back bushes on Old Stoke Road

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A wildlife photographer has been left ‘devastated’ by maintenance work which she says may have destroyed bird nests.

Julie Cuthbert has been taking photographs and has been an avian enthusiast for many years, describing the work that was carried out by Network Rail on Old Stoke Road eight weeks ago as ‘brutal’ for the local wildlife.

But Network Rail insists that the works were timed so as not to affect the nesting sesaon, for birds including robins, red kites and increasingly rare starlings.

“The work that has been completed on the hedges on Stoke Road have left the birds with very limited space for them to breed” said Julie.

“It is extremely important for these birds to have a space to build a nest to feed their young. It is now well into mating season and will it be for the next few months, so it is vital that the birds have a place to nest”.

Julie says that she saw workers disturbing the bushes, which she claims would have been very distressing for wildlife.

She said that this is the first time she has seen work being completed in this area, however it has left her deeply saddened that there hasn’t been more care shown towards the birds. And now that the bushes have been completely clipped back, Julie claims that larger animals including badgers could also be affected. Schedule One of the Wildlife Countryside Act 1981 protects certain birds by issuing penalties for any disruption caused. Therefore, any work that has impacted on the birds nesting areas will have breached this act. A spokesman for Network Rail said that the work was completed eight weeks ago before nesting season- therefore no nests or eggs would have been destroyed.

(Images captured on Old Stoke Road by Julie Cuthbert)