Belfast people ‘despair’ after council remove 200m of Hawthorne trees in bird nesting season

Individuals throughout South and East Belfast are in “despair” after round 200m of native Hawthorne timber have been eliminated throughout chicken nesting season.

The “injury” on public land by the hands of Belfast City Council has been reported to police by Green Party councillor Brian Smyth.

He says it is additional highlights the necessity for an impartial environmental company to carry authorities to account.

Learn extra:The Earth’s Corr: 11 things politicians can do to improve our lives and climate

The East Belfast consultant instructed Belfast Dwell: “I’ve been inundated with complaints from residents in a single day about this.

“There may be nearly a sense of despair and anger which hyperlinks into the broader problem of the reducing of timber alongside the Lagan. Individuals assume that there isn’t any session, no person is aware of what is going on on.

“Persons are seeing this and it is horrific trying.

“As a Inexperienced, I feel there’s big reputational injury right here. We’re the custodians of this metropolis.

“I’ve reported this to the PSNI as a possible wildlife crime – I would like readability on the matter significantly round consensus to disturb breeding birds. It isn’t nearly you are not allowed to chop nests down – you are additionally not allowed to disturb these websites, at, in or close to them.

“We want readability right here. I’m furious. I’m so offended at this as a result of one thing has gone on and there was no communication.

“It’s a lovely website. By way of biodiversity it is one of the essential websites in South and East Belfast and other people have gone up there within the final 48 hours and simply seen clearance. I’ve spoke to numerous individuals and they’re gutted and they’re upset.

“My understanding is that this was preparatory works executed for the extension of the greenway. As councillors we had no advance information – nothing.

“From what I am being instructed acceptable assessments and checks have been carried out by related certified individuals to ensure there was no disruption to nesting websites. However I’ve nonetheless made a report back to the PSNI.

“We’re asking for assurances that no additional work goes to happen. We’re going to meet officers up on website to ensure there are classes right here.

“This can be a group that needed to take care of the Lagan timber coming down and there is a little bit of trauma. Persons are feeling helpless.

“I simply assume there is a disconnect and an absence of communication between the council and the individuals. The general public are years forward of organisations akin to council and DfI on their expectations of environmentalism.

“Persons are shifting quickly and the essential degree is that organisations akin to council, DfI and authorities our bodies stating, ‘we’re planning on doing work and that is what we’re doing’.

“They’re saying there isn’t any disruption however I’ve requested for the PSNI to research. They’re placing a wildlife safety officer on it and I’ve requested for impartial scrutiny of this.

Removed trees on top of bluebells
Eliminated timber on prime of bluebells

“If individuals assume big organisations can go forward and do their very own factor, then how are you going to anticipate buy-in to environmentalism, sustainability and biodiversity?

“This can be a extremely delicate website and it’s already coping with the Hamptons utility and it goes again to plenty of native individuals being gravely involved about this.

“It is an space of excellent pure magnificence and one in all eight woodlands left on this a part of the city and right here we’re simply, enterprise as regular when this metropolis council has already declared a local weather and biodiversity emergency.

“How do you exchange this? I’m actually offended right here on the lack of foresight.

“Authorities our bodies should be having conversations with residents.”

All scrub reducing, hedge reducing, laying and coppicing operations are banned by DAERA throughout chicken nesting season – which is March 1 to August 31 – to keep away from harming birds, their nests and eggs.

Any such work could be thought-about a legal offence beneath Wildlife (NI) Order 1985.

A Save Our Lagan spokesperson mentioned this latest removing of timber in Belfast has resulted within the “lack of a 200m by 6m swathe of mature, dense and chicken and insect-rich hedgerow destroyed alongside the Lagan in an Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence”.

Because the timber have been minimize down in Could, they’ve questioned whether or not that is “an offence”?

“Two sections both aspect of the already beneath stress Hampton Park improvement have been eliminated, presumably to hyperlink Galwally and Annadale avenues with a ‘Greenway’,” they added.

“The Galwally website injury is especially provocative because the chippings from the destroyed timber have been strewn on a bluebell patch.”

Bluebells are protected in Northern Eire via The Wildlife (Northern Eire) Order 1985.

A press release from Belfast City Council mentioned: “Council is presently progressing plans for Section 2 of the Lagan Gateway venture, constructing on the success of Section 1, which included a brand new pedestrian and cycle bridge, connecting Stranmillis to Annadale. This subsequent part will see the event of further connections from Lagan Lands East at Annadale via to Belvoir Forest Park, to additional encourage and allow extra sustainable journey.

“Web site investigation works have been deliberate to be undertaken at Lagan Lands East to tell the ultimate designs for Section 2. Sadly, these required the removing of a small space of hedgerow, in an effort to allow these important works to be carried out.

“These plans have been developed with an authorized ecologist, and inspections undertaken, in accordance with the related laws, to make sure there have been no energetic nests throughout the small space of hedgerow which has been eliminated.

“Council has agreed to pause the deliberate website investigation works, in an effort to undertake additional engagement round this venture.”

A PSNI spokesperson mentioned: “Police obtained a report of timber being minimize within the Annadale Embankment space of south Belfast this afternoon (Friday 13 Could). Enquiries are ongoing.”

Learn extra:No environmental impact assessments on tree felling along Lagan

Learn extra: Residents ‘will work in shifts’ as they protest against tree removal in Belfast

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