The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive haven’t stopped the “vandals” at Luton Borough Council sending in the chainsaws at the height of the bird nesting season to destroy dozens of mature trees and undergrowth, as it alters a junction on the A505 road, that is linked to a 2014 application to expand the airport to 18 million passengers, which was already reached in 2019.
The Law states that when tree or vegetation clearance work has to be undertaken during the nesting season, a pre works survey needs to be carried out by a suitably competent person. As a general rule, it should be assumed that birds will be nesting in trees, and that it needs to be confirmed that any works carried out in the management of trees and other vegetation has not disturbed actively-nesting birds.
The Law also states that ground vegetation, and therefore ground-nesting birds, can often be overlooked by tree workers so additional care and controls should be taken when access and egress to the work site may also cause disturbance or damage to a nesting site. A breach of this Act could lead to prosecution for anyone, it would seem, apart from the Council.
A visit to the site reveals that every tree without exception has been cut down and that all the ground cover removed.
So, are the council claiming that there were NO nesting birds after a site inspection? Or was it the more likely the case that they didn’t bother looking or didn’t look too hard in dense foliage, as it would have delayed the scheme?
Only a few months before, the council made the national newspapers for cutting down nearly 300 mature trees without warning, on another section of the A505 around a mile away outside the town’s crematorium.
A resident in his 80s said: “It was absolutely horrendous. We had no idea they were going to pull the trees down. They just turned up early in the morning with their chainsaws and big machines.”
The Council’s next target is again just over a mile away at Wigmore Valley Park, which has been voted the best park in Bedfordshire in a national poll. There, hundreds of trees are set to be cut down in probably the worst act of mass vandalism ever seen in Luton, by a Council that seems to have no interest in the well-being of the residents who use public parks every day. The park’s destruction is linked to the Council’s plans to build a second terminal for the loss-making airport on the much loved park despite strong opposition from many of the town’s residents.
In recent years the following town parks have been built or part built on:
– Manor Road
– Roebuck Close
– Bradley Road
– Thirlstone Road
– Falconers Road
– Abbotswood Road
– Butely Road
– Raynham Way
– Wigmore Lane
– Wheatfield Road
– The Brache
As well as plans to destroy the 70 acre Wigmore Valley Park, a planning application has been submitted by the Council to itself for the destruction of Wandon Park, which again is a mile away from the present atrocity being inflicted on wildlife and the community by this Council.