Thanet is lucky to have a wealth of open spaces and we employ a dedicated and experienced team to manage their upkeep. As part of its work, our Open Spaces team carries out regular maintenance to trees, hedges and shrubs on land we own. The vast majority of this work is completed during the winter and therefore outside of recognised nesting seasons.
At any time of the year, before starting any work a member of the team will visit a site in person and conduct a thorough visual survey i.e.looking for active birds’ nests. In the event that there is evidence of birds nesting in the areas scheduled to be cut back, this work would be postponed until further assessment could be made.
At the Kent Innovation Centre, in Broadstairs, nesting birds have not been seen on any occasion during the team’s assessments which have taken place over the past two years. Similar assessments were made on the hedges in the vicinity of the Winter Gardens in Margate.
The decision to undertake work of this nature during this particular time period is based on issues raised by stakeholders using the affected spaces, including the need to mitigate against health and safety risks, particularly in relation to members of the public for whom our duty of care is paramount.
Bearing in mind the levels of overgrowth it was not possible to cut these hedges back manually. We engaged experienced, qualified and accredited contractors who conducted further examinations before commencing work and would also know to cease activity if evidence of active nesting birds were spotted. It is anticipated that at this time of year, re-growth is likely to appear quickly improving the appearance of the site.
There are no further scheduled cutting back of hedges planned, however if we are served a notice by the County Council or have a health and safety issue reported to us we may have to carry out necessary works during summer months, but as always following guidance to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife.
We appreciate that this is an emotive issue, and can assure residents that there has been no intention to displace wildlife that contributes to our wonderful bio-diverse natural environment.