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'Pigeons killed' as SKDC workers fell trees on Grantham estate

Trees and hedgerows have been cut down in a Grantham close by council workers, destroying birds’ nests and leading to an investigation by the RSPCA.

According to a neighbour, three wood pigeons were killed and one chick rescued in the incident.

That several birds were killed is disputed by South Kesteven District Council, although it has apologised for the “regrettable accident” which happened during the nesting season, identified by Natural England as February to August.

A pigeon chick rescued after SKDC workers cut down trees its nest was in. (14254028)
A pigeon chick rescued after SKDC workers cut down trees its nest was in. (14254028)

“Disgusted” neighbour Tanya Hughes said she returned to her home in Larch Close with her nine-year-old son last Tuesday to find several trees felled where “dozens of nesting birds are rearing their chicks”.

Tanya picked up one pigeon chick still alive from the floor, which was later collected to be cared for by a friend.

Tanya told the Journal: “Looks like this little fellow might be the only lucky one.

“It’s such a sad world we live in that people do this, cutting trees and hedgerows down and not thinking about the living wildlife and all the nesting birds.

“I am extremely upset to witness such cruelty towards our wild animals.

“My son, aged nine, was the one to witness the birds and the baby chick on the floor and he burst out in tears crying, saying we have to save the baby bird.

“Shame on the council.”

Tanya called the RSPCA to report the incident and an officer was sent out.

The animal welfare charity confirmed an investigation is
under way.

A spokeswoman said: “This distressing incident is a timely reminder that wherever possible, tree-felling or hedge-cutting should be avoided in spring and summer, so as not to disturb nesting birds.

“We are keen to establish what happened and are appealing for witnesses to this incident to contact us on our appeals line on 0300 123 8018.”

SKDC has apologised for the incident.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm that a nest with one baby pigeon in it was accidentally disturbed during work to tidy a garden in Larch Close.

“We are very sorry for any distress caused as a result of this isolated and regrettable accident.

“Our teams are very aware of the need not to disturb nesting birds. Trees are checked thoroughly before any work starts and no hedgerows are cut during nesting season.

“Before the work started in Larch Close inspections were carried out for any indication of nesting birds, in line with standard procedure.

“Two nests were identified, and instructions given to avoid these areas. However, there was a misunderstanding on-site which led to this incident.

“The staff involved have been interviewed and left in no doubt that this should not have happened, even by accident. All our teams have been reminded of their responsibilities to nesting birds.

“EnvironmentSK [a council-owned company] has also invited the RSPCA in to talk to staff and reinforce the message.

“We will co-operate fully with any investigation into this incident.”

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