Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Cutters called off Bexley hedgerow over residents' bird nesting concerns
A HEDGEROW in Bexley was "decimated" by cutters until angry residents stopped them in their tracks claiming it had birds nesting in it.
Contractors for Bexley Council began trimming the foliage - which sits opposite around 30 houses along one side of Love Lane and reaches up to 4m in height - on Friday morning to the horror of a watching bird enthusiast.
Liz Wingfield says the work should not have been started at this time of year as the RSPB recommends cutting hedges and trees be avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds.
The 48-year-old joined concerned neighbours in ringing Bexley Council to complain before contractors Kier were called off at midday with around two thirds of the hedge cut.
She said: "I’m totally disgusted they are doing it at this time of year.
"I get that they need to cut the hedge but you just don’t do it when birds are nesting.
"I have lived on this street more than 40 years and they have never cut it back this far."
The masters student, who works with people with learning disabilities, says she took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch last month, cataloguing all the species she saw in her front garden.
Mrs Wingfield claims to have spotted more than 20 types including wrens, chaffinches, dunnocks and a rare mistle thrush - many of which she says have been nesting in the hedge.
She added: "They are not going to go back to it now and it looks like it’s been decimated."
A Bexley Council spokeswoman said the hedge had become "unmanageable" and was a health and safety concern.
She said: "Following concerns from residents works to reduce an overgrown hedge at Love Lane have been suspended until later this year.
"It was due to be cut back and a new fence erected.
"The hedge had previously been inspected twice for nests and was reinspected following calls from residents.
"Although no nests were found we can appreciate residents concerns and this work will now take place later this year."
RSPB spokeswoman for the south east Samantha Stokes, said: "Hedges do need to be managed to ensure they maintain their function as a shelter and refuge for wildlife and that they don’t grow out of control, but management needs to take place at an appropriate time."