There are a lot of vehicles going in and out the depot, and with all the works going on hedgehogs are likely to be disturbed out of hibernation. As we have just been reminded by the recent PTES report, hedgehogs are in serious decline in the UK and of course they are a GM Biodiversity Action Plan species. We have them in the park and instead of protecting them, their habitats are being destroyed and their lives endangered under these renovation plans.
The council has legal duties under Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 and NERC Act 2006. We’re not suggesting at this stage that these recent deaths are the result of acts of intentional cruelty but the contractors are displaying a distinct lack of care, both in their actions on the ground and in their responses to questions about wildlife protection from members of the public.
The Biodiversity Masterplan says “A qualified ecologist from GMEU will be present on site during tree removal works, to check trees for hibernating bats.This approach has been formulated in conjunction with GMEU.” Yet the tree felling to date has taken place with NO qualified ecologist from GMEU on site – which is clearly a breach of the Planning conditions, as has been confirmed to us by the Planning dept.
It is not clear who has responsibility for ensuring the Biodiversity Masterplan is being properly implemented, and who the point of contact is for people who have concerns about the contractors work with regard to wildlife and/or who want to report incidents, like injuries or deaths to animals. We have addressed these questions to the council, and await a response..