Bird lovers in a flap at shock park tree cull

Bird lovers say they are horrified after trees were chopped down in Stanley Park during the breeding season.

Wednesday, 18th May 2016, 6:00 am
Trees in Stanley Park are being cut down
Trees in Stanley Park are being cut down

The wildlife enthusiasts fear the action has destroyed a significant number of birds’ nests.

As a result, woodland birds such as the Nut Hatch and Tree Creeper, which are not found anywhere other than Stanley Park in the town, may not breed this year, members of Fylde Bird Club have warned.

But the council says the trees were diseased and had to be felled. It says its ecologist did not find any nests in any of the affected trees.

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Paul Ellis, secretary of Fylde Bird Club, has written to every councillor protesting at the action.

He said: “Tree felling should not be conducted in May because it is the height of the breeding season for birds.

“If tree felling is necessary, it should always be conducted in autumn. Anyone with responsibility for tree management should know this.

“This action was irresponsible and possibly illegal owing to the certainty that birds will have been nesting in these trees.

“The horrendous disturbance caused by these works will also have disturbed nesting birds in the neighbouring trees, bushes and banksides.

“It is inevitable that additional nests, located in the surrounding area will have been lost owing to these works.”

Mr Ellis said even if the trees were diseased, because most were leaning over the lake, these could have been left to fall safely into the water with that area cordoned off.

He added: “One of the trees taken out is popular with the Tree Creeper, while the Nut Hatch may have been affected.

“These are woodland birds and they are not found in other parts of the borough.”

But the council said it had examined each tree before it was cut down.

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Secretary, said: “The trees that have been removed in Stanley Park were either already dead or were on the verge of becoming very dangerous to people in the park. This is a part of a regular review that is carried out across Blackpool throughout the year.

“Normally we would remove trees earlier in the year but due to the poor weather and ground conditions it has not been possible.

“We were conscious that May is nesting season and as such every tree was examined by a qualified ecologist to determine whether birds were nesting in each one before we did any work to it.

“Those trees where birds were nesting have been left alone and we will revisit them at the end of the year after the birds have left.

“Whatever time of year we have to carry out works to trees, we are always challenged in our decision making, however every decision we make around trees is very done with the nature and wildlife in mind.

“This is a very environmentally conscious council and it is worth reminding people that our Woodlands from Waste project with Global Renewables planted tens of thousands of new trees across Blackpool, while huge wildlife based improvements have taken place at Marton Mere over the last few years and massive investment continues to improve the quality of our sea water.”