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Rising concern over netting to stop birds nesting
"It really does feel like nature is an inconvenience to developers that needs to be sorted out" - David Savage, Derbyshire WIldlife Trust.
Conservationists call for new legislation

Environmentalists have expressed concern at the rise of netting being used by housing developers to prevent birds nesting on their sites.

According to The Guardian, developers are using netting to get around a law that prevents the removal and damage of birds nests and to avoid delays to their developments caused by nesting season.

Experts say that the rise is partly due to the increase in house building over the last five years, as firms come under pressure to meet government housing targets.

David Savage from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust told The Guardian: “It has gone crazy this year. There seem to be more and more nets being used.

“I would like to see it banned altogether; it is completely unnecessary. It really does feel like nature is an inconvenience to developers that needs to be sorted out, and meanwhile, we are losing species at a dramatic rate. We need new legislation which is better and more fit for purpose on this.”

Across the UK, campaigners have been tearing down netting and filming animals that have become tangled up. A member of the public described how she removed netting from hedgerows on a roadside in Lancashire:

“We could see birds inside [the netting] and a dead rabbit who had obviously struggled,” she told The Guardian. “If we see anymore we wouldn’t hesitate to take it down. This is barbaric, what these developers are doing, and it should be made illegal for them to carry out further netting.”

Some housing developers are now renewing their policies as a result of the recent action.

William Davis told The Guardian: “Our discussions with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust were a definite factor influencing our policy decision, as was finding ourselves technically in the right but clearly at odds with public sentiment. We have removed the majority of nets and will by close of business on 5 April have removed all nets from our development sites.”

Bellway and Bovis Homes have stated they will also be changing their policies to prevent the use of netting at any of their sites.

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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News Shorts
WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.