There’s concern that tree felling around link road work in Sidley is threatening birds and animals during their nesting season.
The work is at the old railway cutting north of the Ninfield Road bridge where East Sussex County Council has asked contractors to remove trees and undergrowth to allow for embankment stabilisation.
The Combe Haven Defenders claim on April 22 ecologists were seen removing “what appeared to be a nest” from a recently felled tree, as well as “distressed baby squirrels.”
The group highlights the RSPB advises tree felling should be avoided between March 1 and August 31 while the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to knowingly damage a live nest.
Chriss Wilson on Facebook said ESCC’s actions were “causing baby animals and birds to die and there is nothing that anyone can do.”
An ESCC spokesman said vegetation clearance was taking place under the supervision of ecologists and the work covered by a dormouse licence from Natural England.
“There are no restrictions on when tree clearance can be carried out, but it is an offence to disturb nesting birds. To ensure nesting birds are protected and not disturbed, all felling work is preceded by a hand search of any leaf litter, scrub or ground flora for hibernating dormice, and by ground based inspections of each tree for nesting birds and features that could be used by roosting bats or nesting dormice. Where potential bat roosting or dormice nesting features are observed, the tree is either climbed by the ecologist so a more detailed inspection can be undertaken or soft felled.
Several trees have been left in-situ where active birds’ nests have been found, including wood pigeons and Great Tits. Where these birds have been discovered, trees have been retained and an exclusion zone set up. No nesting birds have been harmed during the tree clearance.”