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  1. ITV Report

Wildlife campaigners claim Network Rail's contractors have "destroyed vital habitat"

Network Rail criticised for cutting down trees and bushes Photo: Ray Walton

Network Rail has been criticised for cutting down trees and bushes which wildlife campaigners claim is vital habitat at this time of year. The company cleared trackside areas between Bournemouth and Christchurch - and says it's part of it's plan to manage vegetation and avoid trains colliding with fallen trees or large branches.

But campaigners like Ray Walton who filmed the work after being alerted by the sound of chain saws, says this is wanton destruction of wildlife habitat at a time of year when birds are nesting.

Ray is supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which advises against felling and pruning trees at this time of year.

"An ecological survey was carried out before work started to identify any protected species of nesting birds.

Checks are made before work begins each day which complies with the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981."

– Spokesperson, Network Rail

But Ray disputes that and along with the RSPB has reported Network Rail to British Transport Police. He has a crime number and has received a message that his complaint about the actions of Network Rail's contractors will be investigated.