Corporate Vandalism

September 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

This week’s photo shows what is now left of a vibrant larch plantation at Clough Bottom near Burnley. I have been monitoring the breeding birds in this plantation for more than thirty five years and on the fourteenth of May each year there would have been more than fifteen species of birds nesting in the pines comprising birds like Goldcrest and up to one pair of Sparrowhawks. I say would have been but not this year, as shortly after that date Tilhill Forestry acting on the approval of the landowners United Utilities cut down all the larch trees prior to their removal. As this was at the height of the breeding season you would have thought that they were contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which was set up to protect all breeding birds and their nests. Well they got around this by sending in one of their employees on the fourteenth of May to look for any nests. He claims that,even though I know more than fifteen species of birds were breeding in the pines, he could not find any nests so the felling went ahead. To me this is a blatant abuse of the Countryside Act as there is no right of recourse and of course the trees have now gone. It would have been totally impossible in one day to examine each tree for the nests of such birds as Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Redpoll and Siskin that even to an expert nest- finder are hard to locate. Quite clearly Tilhill Forestry paid lip service to the Act and their only intention was to extract the timber as fast as possible. What has gone on at Clough Bottom is an absolute disgrace. Tilhill Forestry and United Utilities should be ashamed.

On a lighter note the Foxes on Hopwood are now dispersing. Click here for Fox photos.