Wild meadow with nesting birds 'blitzed' by council contractors

PUBLISHED: 14:03 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 04 July 2018

Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.

Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.

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A wildlife haven which was home to nesting birds and frogs in Portishead has been 'levelled'.

Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.

Two residents have hit out at North Somerset Council after its contractor cut a field off Slade Road during nesting season.

David Newton and Jonathan Mock were hoping to apply for protection for the site as it is home to a wide variety of wildlife including robins, blackbirds and wild flowers.

Jonathan said: “It’s the wrong time of year to carry out the type of work it did. It absolutely blitzed it, including areas it really shouldn’t have touched.

“It’s a football pitch and it had been identified as land suitable for development, but it’s one of the few remaining green spaces in the town and before it was cut down it was a wild flower meadow.

Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.Jonathan Mock and David Newton examining remains of birds nests in the devastated meadow.

“It needs to be taken on by Portishead Town Council, instead of North Somerset, to stop any kind of development and safeguard the area as a wildlife meadow.

“We were planning to carry out a survey there in order to give a presentation to Portishead Town Council to try to get it protected as a wildlife site.

“The site hasn’t been touched for so long. It’s utterly incredible North Somerset suddenly committed that many resources to a field which nobody walked through.

“It levelled the whole area including a hedgerow known to have nesting birds.

“It’s bad enough it would do this at a time of year when the field would have been at its most active for wildlife but also odd given the news stories about public areas like footpaths and verges being left untouched across the county.

“The concern is this is a prelude to cleansing the area of any wildlife so it makes any development smoother – in a town already struggling for over-development.”

North Somerset Council cut £150,000 from its grounds maintenance budget at the start of this financial year, which led to the loss of one mechanical road sweeper, a lawn-mower and its strimming team.

More: Budget cuts to result in more weeds, long grass and full bins in North Somerset?

The council has been fielding a number of complaints about the state of the grass verges and green spaces.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “The field was cut on request by residents and the council was not made aware nature lovers had planned to carry out a wildlife survey.”

More: Rats and overgrown play areas lead to record number of complaints.

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