Twitter | @jpawatson, Twitter

Developer Faces Backlash After Covering Trees With Nets To Stop Birds Nesting

It doesn't take a lot of digging to learn that our planet is in serious trouble. And while that does little to inspire hope for the future, one encouraging aspect of this concerns the growing number of people who are aware of environmental issues and take them seriously.

Plus, now that we live in an age where reputations can live and die on social media, anyone who might run afoul of environmental protection efforts faces the risk of having their behaviors exposed.

And one British developer now knows what consequences can occur when the public smells something fishy.

Last week, residents in Guildford, England noticed an unusual sight: 11 of their local trees were covered in nets.

Twitter | @M_Z_Harrison

As the BBC reported, the nets were installed by a developer called Sladen Estates. Although they didn't explain why the nets were there, it's also true that they were planning to build 191 homes in the area.

And so, some activists suspect these nets were supposed to be a way to get around the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Reddit | Hera_the_otter

According to The Daily Mail, this act states that it's illegal to cut down trees while birds are nesting in them.

By installing these nets, Sladen Estates could then prevent birds from nesting, allowing them to legally cut the trees down.

Twitter | @jpawatson

At least, that's what Simon Cowell from an organization called Wildlife Aid surmised while talking to the BBC.

What Cowell is sure of, however, is that these nets carry their own potential dangers.

Twitter | @Rach_E_Bennett

As he told the BBC, the developer's move was, "incredibly dangerous, even on the outside, with animals able to get their feet stuck."

Others expressed concern at the possibility that over wildlife could be trapped beneath the nets.

These potential dangers alongside the likely reason for the netting, prompted intense backlash on Twitter.

Twitter | @paanfo

As The Daily Mail reported, responses ranged from calling the nets "a cynical ploy to get around the legislation" to "totally insane and cruel."

Among those speaking out against the nets was Paul Spooner, who leads the Guildford Borough Council.

Twitter | @Rach_E_Bennett

As he said, "Netting those trees to avoid any potential disruption to a developer I thought was unacceptable. This was not a particularly clever move by the developer as it has just highlighted to everyone involved in the decision-making process the potential plight of those trees."

In response to this public outcry, Sladen Estate made a statement of Twitter.

Although it's unclear what this "correct advice" refers to, the company did agree to remove the nets.

As Spooner tweeted out, some of the work to remove them was delayed due to heavy winds.

Spooner also tweeted to confirm that Sladen Estates were indeed committed to removing the nets.

Twitter | @PaulKGB

He also shared that no matter how many homes they intend to build on the land where those trees now stand, they don't have any planning permission at this time.

h/t: BBC