Protest over bird netting on cliffs goes ahead after council u-turn
PUBLISHED: 09:23 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:23 10 April 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Protestors gathered at a north Norfolk beach to object to a council’s decision to install netting which stops sand martins from nesting.
About 40 people joined the protest, which was organised by the Save Bacton Sand Martins group, on Bacton beach on Tuesday night.
It came after outcry at North Norfolk District Council’s decision to install the netting at Bacton cliffs, which was put in place to deter birds during work on the Bacton/Walcott Coastal Management Sandscaping scheme, to prevent coastal erosion.
MORE: Norfolk council agrees to remove some of the netting at Bacton cliffs following public outrage
But on Tuesday afternoon the council confirmed, after meeting the RSPB, it would take down some of the netting.
But the protest, which was organised by Juli Kett-Brodie, from Southrepps, who is part of the sand martins group, went ahead.
She said: “This is outrageous. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to do something. It warms my heart to see so many local people here, protesting against something that is so outrageous.
“These sand martins have flown 5,000 miles, and have been using these nests for generations.
“We will keep up the pressure on the council, as all of the wrong netting must come down. It should not have been put up in the first place.
“We must make sure this does not happen again.”
MORE: RSPB calls on Norfolk council to do ‘the right thing’ and take netting down at Bacton cliffs
Armed police, stationed at nearby Bacton gas terminal, kept a watchful eye over the protest.
The council said: “The Bacton netting issue has been our top priority and we appreciate the level of concern it has caused.
“Following positive discussions with the RSPB and Natural England, we have instructed contractors to remove the upper levels of netting on Bacton cliffs.
“Minimum levels will be retained to assist in progressing with this critical project to protect people’s homes and national infrastructure.
“Following this, ongoing discussions will take place between NNDC and the RSPB about the material to be used on the lower section of cliff to allow this to happen.”
The Save Bacton Sand Martins group said: “While we absolutely welcome the nets coming down within 24 hours, the distress and displacement caused to sand martins and other wildlife has been utterly disgraceful and must never happen again.”
The RSPB has said it will meet the council in the coming days in the hopes it can convince it to remove all of the netting.