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Police investigate potential ‘killing’ of nesting birds in Peterborough  

Mayor Nick Sandford says workmen “almost destroyed” the area

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Police have begun an investigation into dead birds being seen on a parcel of land in Peterborough that neighbours believe is being cleared ahead of a planning application for housing. In recent days angry residents have bombarded city councillors – and called the police – after witnessing trees and shrubland being removed and dead birds spotted in the greenery and bushes that have been ripped up.

Mayor Cllr Nick Sandford has visited the site off Gunthorpe Road and said he had been in touch with council environmental officers but was told there was little they could do.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

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The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

He had been in touch with the city council environmental manager Darren Sharp “and he has promised to look into it. But because the area does not have any tree preservation orders or is part of a conservation area, there is not much he can do.”

But later in the day Cllr Sandford, ward member for Paston and Walton, said he had received an email from Sgt Andy Gladders which gave him hope of potential action.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. PHOTO: Terry Harris

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Sgt Gladders told him, and other councillors, via email that “I have been made aware of an incident occurring at 20 Gunthorpe Road whereby we have been notified the owner of the land has cleared trees on their private property and disrupted and potentially killed some nesting birds.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation. Above: police visit today

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation. Above: police visit today

“A crime has been raised under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Protection of nests and eggs of wild birds which will be investigated by the rural crime action team.”

Cllr Sandford said he was grateful for the support of other councillors including Cllr Asif Shaheed, also of Paston and Walton, and Cllr Sandra Bond, a ward member for Gunthorpe.

A company has decimated an area of thick bush and trees.  Gunthorpe Road, Peterborough
Monday 15 April 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation. Above: police visit today

A company has decimated an area of thick bush and trees.  Gunthorpe Road, Peterborough
Monday 15 April 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.

A company, for unknown reasons, has decimated an area of thick bush and trees. Gunthorpe Road, Peterborough
Monday 15 April 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.

A company, for unknown reasons, has decimated an area of thick bush and trees.  Gunthorpe Road, Peterborough
Monday 15 April 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.

“I have been contacted by numerous residents shocked by this mass removal of trees shrubs and natural habitat on a privately owned site off Gunthorpe Road,” said Cllr Sandford.

“The site has previously been the subject of a planning application which was refused. I intend to pursue this further with relevant senior officers at the council to see what can be done and whether other agencies such as the Forestry Commission or Natural England need to be notified.”

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. PHOTO: Terry Harris


The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. PHOTO: Terry Harris

He said workmen had “almost destroyed” the area but he was unsure still what more can be done.

Cllr Sandford said the burden proof in relation to police remains “very high” and he must await their inquiries before commenting further.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

Mr Sharp was in touch with the Forestry Commission to try and ascertain whether a felling licence was required for the timber.

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“The problem with that, however, is that there are a lot of exemptions, so we will have to wait and see,” he said.

Cllr Sandford said the one positive angle was that under a new 2022 environmental law, any developments need to show a bio diversity net gain – if they are over a certain size – or make a financial contribution.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

Local resident David Jeffery is urging all local councillors to “please not use the destruction of the wildlife area on Gunthorpe/Fulbridge roads as a political platform.

“At least 4 councillors, an MP and police were called, but other than Nick Sandford none attended. We welcome any assistance as there is still part of the area that could be saved.”

He added: “Why is it that the conservationists in Peterborough are up in arms in order to leave a strip of land to grow wild in the park, or to campaign for areas to be left for wildlife yet allow the huge wild area at the rear of Gunthorpe and Fulbridge Road be destroyed.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

“This area has been home to many animals for tens of years including many species of birds, foxes, newts and countless others yet is being systematically destroyed right under your noses just at the start of nesting season.”

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

Mr Jeffery has posted regular updates to the local Facebook ‘PE4 Chatter Group’ and said he had been astonished, but pleased, with the reaction from residents both local and across the city.

One other resident said workmen were busy even on Saturday clearing the site when at the time “I still don’t think any councillors have paid a visit to a site that was supposedly refused permission to remove the trees and bushes.

“Then you have the cheek to ask for our vote at the next elections – please get yourselves down there, show that you are a man or woman of action”

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

 

Another resident said: “We took pictures of the vehicles involved and the remains of the baby birds and nests it was sickening! Not sure what happened, I vaguely recall they said they had checked the area before they started and could not find any birds nesting.”

One resident said she went to MP Paul Bristow’s surgery on Friday who told her “he had had a letter about this and would go and have a look at the site after surgery on and see what was going on”.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

The site off Gunthorpe Road where workmen have begun clearing the site and caused an uproar among local residents. Residents have taken photos of the area being cleared and contacted councillors for an explanation.

She later commented: “I am sorry about the whole situation. The land is being cleared so fast now. I love walking by there with my dog and seeing the two egrets in the trees and I know there are foxes and other wildlife in there. So sorry, seems like my trip to his surgery was pointless.”

CambsNews has reached out to the company clearing the site for comment.

 

 

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