DEVELOPERS behind more than 360 new homes in a village have been slammed for their use of netting designed to prevent birds from nesting.

It follows a picture being widely shared on Twitter of a covered hedgerow on the Straight Mile in Llay where Anwyl Homes and Bellway Homes have begun site preparations.

While the practice of netting is legal, it has proved controversial as it enables firms to get round legislation that prevents the removal of birds nests by stopping them from settling.

An online petition calling for it to be banned has attracted more than 225,000 signatures since it was launched last month, while the RSPB has also voiced concerns about attempts to avoid delays to construction in nesting season.

The picture of netting in Llay was taken last week by Rebecca Hennessey, who lives in Burton, near Rossett.

The Leader:

Anger has been voiced over the use of netting to prevent birds nesting at a housing development in Llay. Source: Rebecca Hennessey 

Her original post has now been retweeted more than 400 times, attracting widespread condemnation of the developers’ actions.

Llay councillor Rob Walsh is among those who has voiced his anger after it was discovered the hedges have since been completely removed.

The Liberal Democrat politician said: “I’m horrified by it (netting) and while I appreciate it’s not illegal, I think it shouldn’t be allowed full stop.

“I know that in theory they’re trying to make out they’re being kind by stopping birds nesting in the first place, but what about if a nest is trapped in there.

“It’s cruel and other wildlife could get caught in them.

The Leader:

“If they want to cut hedgerows down they should have done it in the winter or waited until next winter.”

As controversy over the practice rumbles on, the UK government has warned developers they must take more care to protect wildlife during building work.

James Brokenshire MP, the UK Government's Communities Secretary, has revealed he has written to companies to remind them of their legal obligation to consider the impact on wildlife.

The housing scheme on Gresford Road has already proved controversial after it was approved on appeal by former First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2017.

Residents have raised a number of issues since work got underway on the site, including the large amount of lorries it has attracted.

Mrs Hennessey said she understood the need for housing in the area, but felt  builders should take more responsibility for protecting the environment.

She said: “I was really disappointed and it’s quite shocking to see, especially at this time of year.

“I was aware of the massive decline in British wildlife and how we should be nurturing it and supporting it as much as possible.

“I thought that I need to put something up about this, but I didn’t expect the response I got as a lot of people seem to feel the same.

“I am aware people wants new houses and it’s controversial, but for me it feels like we should be working towards maintaining as much of our natural habitat as possible.”

Anwyl Homes has declined to comment on the issue while Bellway Homes has yet to respond to a request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.