Conservationists outraged after property developer places nets over trees to 'prevent birds nesting'

A property developer has been criticised for its decision to erect netting over trees in what conservationist claims is a bid to prevent birds from nesting.

Wildlife campaigners rallied together on social media after images emerged of the trees in Walnut Tree Close, Guildford.

In total, 11 trees have been wrapped in the netting. The move has been condemned as "shameful" and "upsetting" at a time when trees become an important nesting habitat for birds, many returning from migration to breed in the UK.

Guildford Borough Council confirmed it is not responsible for the wrapping, instead pointing the finger at a property developer, Sladen Estates, for erecting the nets.

Some social media users commented the proposed redevelopment of the site could be the reason behind the netting, with developer's need to remove the trees coming ahead of the bird's need to nest in them.

The site, which is currently occupied by a disused car garage, was reportedly due to be turned into student housing. But plans have stalled, Guildford Borough Council today told ITV News there is currently no planning permission for development on the site.

In a statement, it said: "The developer was responsible for netting the 11 trees – the act was nothing to do with the Council – we have liaised with them to remove all the nets and they have agreed to do so within 48 hours."

A spokesperson for the RSPB said: “This is just another example of us trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces. We would ask that developers do this tree and hedge removal work outside the breeding season so that netting is never needed."

It urged developers to only net trees if "absolutely necessary," and check for birds and other animals on as an ongoing process when using the technique.

The site's developer, Sladen Estates, did not respond to a request from ITV News for a comment on the netting.