River Otter flood plain work delayed to protect nesting birds

Plans to go ahead with the restoration of mud flats have been put back after concerns were raised by campaigners about the effect on nesting birds. [Story starts with Tweet]

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Chris Packham@ChrisGPackhamBreaking News . @EnvAgency have sanctioned the destruction of breeding birds tomorrow at the Lower Otter Restoration Project . This is #HS2 part 2 . PLEASE THINK AGAIN @ClintonDevon@kiergroup@NESouthWest Please follow @WiseBirding and RT

Otter estuary

The project involves the removal of vegetation on the River Otter estuary in Devon

The project would have involved the removal of vegetation on the River Otter estuary in Devon, starting on Tuesday.

The Environment Agency (EA) said the start of work was “being reviewed”.

The rescheduling followed involvement from the RSPB and wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham.

The RSPB said it supported the restoration scheme, but it was the wrong time of year.

In a video post on Twitter, Packham said: “You can’t just start destroying birds’ nests when they are protected.

“What sort of signal does that send out to developers.”

Cetti's Warbler

The Cetti’s Warbler is among species that would have been affected say campaigners

An EA spokesperson said the delay had been agreed so “that timings reflect the balance of ecological risks”.

The flood plains project is expected to create 55 hectares (136 acres) of wildlife habitat on the river, estuary and floodplain.

Tony Whitehead from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said it had been “very concerned” about work being carried out in May, “in the middle of the nesting season”.

He said species like the rare Cetti’s warbler were at risk and the RSPB had “repeatedly” asked for the work to be moved to another time of year.

“It is good to hear that the works have been paused today and for the remainder of this week,” he said.

“We hope this will give time for the works to be rescheduled for after the bird nesting season, which in our view would be after the end of August.”

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