Workers cutting hedges.
Camden’s contractor using machinery to cut hedges in Crabtree Fields public open space during August.

We’ve asked time and time again for Camden Council to only carry out hedge cutting with machinery during the autumn and winter months to protect wildlife. Yet despite our efforts we continue to be ignored by a council that seems to be hell bent on carrying out work just to spite us. They did it last year and they are doing so again this year.

As we have pointed only last month, farmers are not allowed to cut hedges between 1 March and 31 August to protect the habitat of nesting birds. Using machinery such as hedge trimmers and leaf blowers can disrupt the habitat, disturbing nests. Birds that have left the nest but are too young to fly can be separated from their parents who still help them to feed. While juvenile they can hop around and find food and still retreat to the safety of the hedge when danger threatens.

The Friends group did all of the winter maintenance at Crabtree Fields over the past year and we have done small amounts of tidying up the hedges with hand tools all through the year. Camden and its contractor idverde did nothing in the way of cutting back hedges between 1 September 2018 and 1 March 2019. Only the volunteers with the Friends group did any of this work.

Camden has a very good biodiversity action plan and the Friends work hard to maintain a formal garden but also one that is an attractive habitat for wildlife. Yet Camden and idverde have failed to do the right work at the right time. This is not good enough.

Linus Rees is secretary of the Friends of Fitzrovia Parks.