Norfolk County Council reviewing verge cutting in bid to help songbirds

Eddie Bullimore, who believes official verge and bank cutting is destroying birds' nests. Photo: ALE

Eddie Bullimore, who believes official verge and bank cutting is destroying birds' nests. Photo: ALEX HURRELL - Credit: Archant

Roadside verge cutting may be curtailed across Norfolk next year to stop the destruction of birds' nests and food for wildlife.

Norfolk County Council has identified about 112km of verges which may be left off the cutting list.

The sites are being 'risk assessed' to ensure motorists' visibility would not be affected and that signs, bends, junctions and private accesses would not be obscured.

A county council spokesman said they would contact their contractors with details of any sites identified as suitable, asking for them to be removed from the cutting programme. The project would help the environment and save the council money.

The move has been welcomed by wildlife campaigner Eddie Bullimore who has submitted eight sites for consideration to the county council, mostly in the Witton, Ridlington and Honing areas, near North Walsham, where he lives.

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Mr Bullimore, 77, of Anchor Road, is an active supporter of the national charity Songbird Survival, based in Diss, and has spent two years trying to persuade the county council to restrict its verge cutting.

He first realised the problem when a neighbour told him that verge and bank cutters had just destroyed the nests of a low-nesting yellowhammer and a whitethroat.

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'A lot of birds nest low down in hedgerows and in banks and these flail cutters can do no end of harm. If you add it up all over the county, you are talking about thousands of acres of habitat being lost,' said Mr Bullimore.

'We are losing these songbirds at a tremendous rate.

'Mother Nature loves to be untidy. She needs a bit of bramble because it provides food and nesting sites. I'm asking everyone to be alert and think about what lovely assets we have in nature, and not to damage them.'

Songbird Survival claims yellowhammer numbers have fallen by 57% and skylarks – which nest on the ground – by 63%.

Eddie Bullimore has raised more than £5,000 for Song Bird survival this year through table-top sales and would welcome donations of items to sell. Ring 01692 400780.

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