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Campaigners watch work starting to remove netting at Bacton cliffs

Work has started to remove netting from Bacton cliffs. Picture: NNDC

Work has started to remove netting from Bacton cliffs. Picture: NNDC

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Campaigners were out in force to watch as work began on removing the bird netting on Bacton cliffs that has caused such an outcry.

Bacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodBacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) installed netting along a 1.3km stretch of the cliffs to stop birds nesting before work started on the Bacton/Walcott Coastal Management Sandscaping scheme.

Between 1.5 and 1.8 million cubic metres of sand will be placed on the beach to protect Bacton Gas Terminals and villages from erosion and flooding.

But hundreds of people across the country have protested against it, including the Save our Bacton Sand Martins group.

And the group’s Juli Kett-Brodie witnessed the start of work removing the upper section of the netting on Thursday, April 11.

Bacton cliffs with the gas terminals above, where netting was put in place to stop sand martins nesting. Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOODBacton cliffs with the gas terminals above, where netting was put in place to stop sand martins nesting. Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

She said: “I’m delighted and really proud of everybody who has behaved so well, demonstrating and protesting so peacefully, to get the right thing done.

“The netting should not have been put up in the first place.

“We have basically shamed the council into doing the right thing.

“We will keep an eye on it, to make sure the netting comes down.

“I understand that abseilers are doing overtime on the weekend to make sure it’s all down by Sunday.”

The district council met the RSPB on site yesterday to discuss how much netting should be removed.

An NNDC spokesman said: “A very detailed assessment was carried out as to where it was considered by all parties that the protection could be removed with minimal likelihood of future disturbance of sand martins while the works to protect people’s homes and critical infrastructure are under way.

“It was agreed that the lower levels of protection, where sand will be placed as part of the project, will be retained, 
alongside very limited protection above this level where it 
was considered there was an increased potential for disturbance to occur.

“Protection will be retained in the agreed areas over existing burrowing holes and potential nesting sites, however extensive areas will be removed.”

The RSPB welcomed the move and a spokesman said: “We believe it is a good first step in the right direction.”

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