Hedgerow and Tree Netting

Thank you for contacting me about hedgerow and tree netting.

I understand your concerns on this matter. I too believe it is important to protect wildlife across the country.

As I am sure you are aware, all wild birds are protected by law and therefore any development project must consider the impact on local wildlife and take precautionary action to protect their habitats. It is important that practices such as netting are only used to help protect birds during a development. It is also an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to cause unnecessary suffering to a bird, and anyone who willingly does so could potentially face prosecution.

I want developments to enhance our natural environment, which is why I am encouraged that the Government has announced plans to require developers to deliver a 'biodiversity net gain' - meaning wildlife habitats must be left in a measurably better state than they were before any development started.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework is also clear that planning policies and decisions should enhance the natural and local environment by minimising the impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity. I understand that survey reports and mitigation plans are required for projects as part of the planning permission process. Surveys reports need to show whether protected species are present, and how the site is used, and mitigation plans describe how developers will avoid or manage any negative effects on protected species.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.