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‘Devastation’ as Perry Park work begins

Birmingham | News | Published:

Perry Park is the site of “devastation” following the start of tree felling ahead of the Commonwealth Games, residents have said.

A pile of branches following tree felling in Perry Park

Contractors moved in to start cutting down trees in the park on March 23 as part of the development of Alexander Stadium.

But members of the Friends of Perry Park have warned some trees are being felled despite being home to birds’ nests – potentially in breach of bird protection laws, they said.

Members of the group have said they were not consulted about tree felling in the park, which will see 61 trees removed by demolition contractors in order to put in a warm-up track next to the stadium.

They said an ecological survey of the park missed a number of trees where birds were making nests, and had called for a pause in tree felling work while the remaining trees were inspected.

But tree felling work has gone ahead, and the residents believe at least one tree with an active nest has been destroyed.

The council has said this particular nest was found to be inactive, but the residents say they saw birds using it on the morning work started.

In a video showing the work being carried out, Friends of Perry Park secretary Deborah Hey-Smith said: “This is to show the devastation that has been made in our public park by vehicles which are just decimating the park, cutting down mature trees.

“Lots of birds flying around have been disturbed from their natural habitat.”

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James Hinton, chair of Friends of Perry Park, said: “They are having to cut down a huge number of trees. We are now bang in the middle of the nesting season. There is legislation to protect wild birds.

“[The ecological survey] has missed quite a lot of trees where there is evidence of nesting activity.

“They have ended up cutting down trees with blatant evidence of live nesting activity. It’s wrong and not in compliance with the law.

“We are particularly aggrieved because we have pointed this out and asked for this activity to be paused.

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“There is one clear example. I think they were crows. They are not particularly rare but it’s still covered by legislation.

“We have seen with our own eyes birds going to and from that nest on the morning the trees came down.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “In relation to the nesting tree highlighted by the group: nesting monitoring commenced on March 16, 2020.

“This nest was identified and was monitored for 6 days prior to being removed as no nesting was evident. It was confirmed as inactive prior to the tree being removed

“All trees removed or are planned to be removed have the relevant approvals and works being undertaken under the guidance and instruction of an on-site specialist team, including those with watching briefs for nesting birds.

“There are currently 158 trees identified within our site boundary. Of these, the council are removing 61 trees (39 per cent).

“Of these trees to be removed, 46 per cent are unsuitable/diseased or of a low quality. It is noted that 38 per cent are moderate and 16 per cent are considered good, however mitigation is in place to improve the overall ecology of the site.

“The team are relocating a number of existing trees as part of the mitigation strategy for the site.

“As part of the development, 340 new trees are being proposed, which include 117 semi mature trees, 200 extra heavy standard trees and 25 standard trees.”

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