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Specialist abseilers remove parts of controversial cliff netting at Bacton

The nets were put up ahead of work to prevent coastal erosion.

Work has started to remove some of the netting put up over cliffs at Bacton in North Norfolk. The nets were put up ahead of a multi-million pound scheme to stop coastal erosion.

Environmentalists claimed it was putting migrating sandmartins at risk. Today they welcomed the removal of some of the netting but said it could have come too late for the birds.

Specialist abseilers have started taking it down - however only part of the netting is being removed.

This is endemic of what is happening in the UK when nature comes second so we had to do something about it. We understand the need for protection for the gas terminal and security but not at the expense of wildlife.

– Maggie Wilcox, Campaigner
A sand martin tries to get through the netting. Credit: @NorfolkBea

It was Maggie's footage of sand martins returning from Africa and failing to get past the nets that brought the situation into the public domain.

The netting was put up as preparation for an erosion prevention scheme called sandscaping to protect houses in Bacton and Walcott but mainly the gas terminal.

We are still pressing them to remove as much netting as possible without impacting on their scheme. We are pushing for them to use geo textile netting which is a lot smaller and less likely for birds to get trapped in so we will help them source that. And we really want to thank the public for bringing this to our attention and putting pressure on the council to do the right thing.

– Fabian Harrison, RSPB

The removal of the upper layer of netting is likely to continue all weekend.