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Minister to write to council planning departments over anti-nesting netting

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, May 20th, 2019.

The Welsh Government minister for environment, energy and rural affairs is to write to local authorities over anti-nesting netting.

It comes after a question posed by Labour AM Mike Hedges about what actions can be taken to stop people from preventing birds from nesting.

Although it is legal for developers to use the netting on hedgerows and trees before nesting begins, there have been calls from the RSPB for laws to be introduced that would commit governments to ensure the recovery of nature.

Recently there was criticism locally after such netting was used on a hedgerow alongside the site of a new housing development in Llay.

A picture tweeted by Bec last showed that the hawthorn hedgerow on the Straight Mile had been covered in netting – with many criticising the impact this would have on birds and local wildlife.

The hedge was later removed, however the tweet received hundreds of retweets and comments questioning the use of the netting.

Speaking in the Senedd last week, Mr Hedges said: “Habitat destruction, exploitation and climate change are driving the loss of over half the world’s wild animal population.

“What is the Welsh Government doing to protect the natural habitat of Wales?”

Lesley Griffiths, minister for environment, energy and rural affairs, said: “We have our natural resources policy, and that obviously sets out our priorities to enable us to reverse the decline in biodiversity and achieve more resilient ecosystems.

“Netting is an issue that’s come across my desk quite frequently in the last few weeks, and I think it’s really important that developers understand that that policy is there only to be used very sparingly and very specifically, and I will be writing out to local authorities to remind them of that.”

The debate also saw Llyr Gruffydd AM (Plaid, North Wales) ask for clarity over what Wales’ responsibilities for nuclear waste were within the devolution settlement.

Mr Gruffydd said: “I want to refer, if I may, to the consultation document of your own Government on disposing of radioactive waste – geological disposal.

“Now, I will quote from that document, and it says, ‘Radioactive waste disposal is a devolved matter – the Welsh Government is responsible for determining the policy for this within Wales’.

“But, looking at the Government of Wales Act 2006, that states that powers the nuclear energy and nuclear stations are reserved.

“There are no exceptions, no carve-outs, as there are in the Scottish context. Can you therefore confirm that legislating on disposal of radioactive material is beyond the competence of this Assembly, which is contrary to what you claim in your own consultation document?”

Ms Griffiths said: “The radioactive waste management disposal, which I think is what you’re referring to, is not the same as nuclear waste.

“The higher activity radioactive waste is being created in Wales, and that’s why the Welsh Government agreed to take part in the UK Government programme for its disposal.”

Last week saw members of executive board members rule Wrexham Council out of allowing nuclear waste to be dumped in the county borough.

A vote will also take place with all 52 councillors at the local authority’s AGM this week.

Keep up to date with what is going on in the Senedd via SeneddHome.com

Picture: Tweeted to Wrexham.com by Bec last month.

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