A conservationist has blasted those responsible for cutting grass in an area of a country park being used by rare birds for ground nesting.
Philip Wood, who lives in Gedling, has called the decision to strim the area near the solar panels in Gedling Country Park ‘disgusting’
Mr Wood, who visits the park regularly with his wife, Linda, said if those responsible didn’t know this act would kill the rare nesting ground birds who use this area then ‘they need to be educated’.
He told Gedling Eye: “For weeks now, skylarks have been breeding in the park – their amazing song is evident of this.
“Many nest in the solar park compound, while others use the undisturbed grassland around the panels as it’s a fabulous site for ground-nesting birds. It also provides valuable food sources for the birds in the nesting season
“The skylarks have been breeding for weeks but now the longish grass has been completely flattened with strimmers and industrial lawn mowers. The ground-nesting bird nests and their young will have been obliterated –this is a crime against wildlife.
“We are very, very sad that this has happened. We are avid park users and this is very wrong. “
Mr Wood said he thinks the cutting would be against the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which protects wild birds, their nests and eggs. It is an offence under Section 1 of the act to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.
He added: “The sky today was absolutely teaming with skylarks on the solar fence and singing their hearts out in the sky but many of their families in their newly constructed ground nests have been now obliterated by ignorant people. It’s so very sad.”
A Gedling Borough Council spokesperson told Gedling Eye: “We are aware of the removal of vegetation around the solar farm at Gedling Country Park. The area is leased to Foresight Group and they are wholly responsible for the upkeep of this specific piece of land and the protection of wildlife within the perimeter.
“We have made urgent contact with Foresight to seek clarification that they made the necessary ecology checks prior to carrying out the works, such as an ecological survey and inspection of the area to make sure there were no nesting birds.
They added: “The park was created to protect the local wildlife and ecology and we take any potential breach of that very seriously. We are awaiting a response from Foresight Group and once we have established what has happened, we will be able to provide a further update.”