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Protest over bird netting on cliffs goes ahead after council u-turn

PUBLISHED: 09:23 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:23 10 April 2019

Protestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Protestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

“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.

Kevin Murphy, Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, at Bacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodKevin Murphy, Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, at Bacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

“We must make sure this does not happen again.”

Kevin Murphy, Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, at Bacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodKevin Murphy, Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, at Bacton cliffs where netting has been put in place which will stop Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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.

Protestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodProtestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

“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.

Protestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodProtestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

“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.”

Protestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodProtestors at Bacton over the cliff netting which is stopping Sand Martins from nesting. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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.

The head of North Norfolk Council has said she is saddened by the misunderstanding between officers and the RSPB. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe head of North Norfolk Council has said she is saddened by the misunderstanding between officers and the RSPB. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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