Sand Martins return to nests after council was condemned for netting

Sand Martins that made a 3,500-mile flight from Africa to Britain have finally been able to return to their coastal nests after council workers removed netting following a battle with wildlife activists. 

The netting was placed across a stretch of the cliffs to stop birds nesting as part of a scheme to move two million cubic metres of sand on to the beach and prevent coastal erosion.

But the decision sparked outrage among activists – including ‘s Chris Packham -as the netting prevented birds accessing their nests. 

Sand Martin birds have returned to their nests after a council was forced to take down netting blocking the birds' homes following huge public backlash

Sand Martin birds have returned to their nests after a council was forced to take down netting blocking the birds’ homes following huge public backlash

Netting was placed across a 1.3km stretch of the cliffs to stop birds nesting as part of a scheme to prevent coastal erosion

Netting was placed across a 1.3km stretch of the cliffs to stop birds nesting as part of a scheme to prevent coastal erosion

But the decision sparked outrage, causing the council to remove the netting in time for the birds coming home to roost from a 3,500-mile trip to Africa

But the decision sparked outrage, causing the council to remove the netting in time for the birds coming home to roost from a 3,500-mile trip to Africa

The Sand Martins had migrated to Africa from the UK for the winter months.New pictures show them returning to the net-free cliffs. 

The dispute culminated in a meeting between North Norfolk District Council and 샌즈카지노 the RSPB on the 8th April in which the Council agreed to remove the upper levels of the netting on Bacton’s cliffs in Norfolk.

A spokesperson for the RSPB said: ‘The RSPB has had further constructive conversations with North Norfolk District Council this afternoon.

‘NNDC has made a sensible decision to start removing the upper section of the netting along the central and western areas of the cliff face.

The BBC's Chris Packham said the council had 'every opportunity' to protect the breeding area as well as the cliffs

The BBC’s Chris Packham said the council had ‘every opportunity’ to protect the breeding area as well as the cliffs

‘We welcome this move and believe it is a good first step in the right direction.

‘From here, the Council will also be looking at the middle section of netting and considering whether it is needed on a sectional, case-by-case basis.

‘However, the Council need to keep the bottom layer of burrows covered for the sandscaping project to happen in time to stop coastal erosion on the North Norfolk Coast.

Workers stripped down the netting after the council was forced to act following public backlash

Workers stripped down the netting after the council was forced to act following public backlash

‘A huge amount of sand will be deposited on the beach, and if these burrows are left open to the sand martins to nest there is a high risk the burrows, and therefore sand martins could be suffocated, and sand martins killed.

‘Ultimately, these nesting burrows will be covered as a result of the project.’