Neighbour felling tree with nests directly under it.

My neighbour is felling a huge conifer next week. It's more than twice the height of our houses and despite loving trees, I can see it needs to go at some point. I can't see any nests in it this year, but only 30cm underneath the lowest branch, and only a metre or so from the trunk, on top of my shed, is a wood pigeon nest. The only thing protecting it from the elements is the conifer. There's also a collared dove nest well underneath the conifer canopy in another small tree in my garden. Both have birds on and have had for at least two weeks. I've told the neighbour about the nests and they said the people booked 'will still do it.'  I'm pretty sure it's illegal as there's no way to do the work without disturbing the birds or hurting them, and have nicely told the neighbour this. Luckily, I'm off work that day so am in a position to do something and they need access to my garden to remove the bigger branches. 

Are these nests protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act?   Thanks. 

  •  The Wildlife and countryside act says As soon any bird has laid its first nesting material it is illegal to disturb it 

  • You could call your local police station and ask to speak to their local wildlife officer who maybe able to offer some valuable advice if you get no more joy with speaking to the neighbours .

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Have a read through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 [LINK HERE].

    While it is generally illegal to disturb nesting birds during the nesting season, if a reputable tree surgeon has been used, they will respect the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 checking to ensure that law isn't broken, or they could become liable to prosecution, and likewise check for any preservation orders before any felling takes place.

    As with many laws, there are provisions made to accommodate emergency tree work, particularly for diseased trees that become a danger to their immediate surroundings.

    Likewise, a reputable tree surgeon should undertake a full risk assessment of the work they are doing, and if some work is close or on your property, then you have a right to know that all has been undertaken to ensure a safe working practice is to be carried out.

    I have two trees which at times overhang adjoining gardens which need to be trimmed back, and my tree surgeon provides the necessary risk assessments, of which I get a copy and share with the neighbours concerned, but I am lucky with both neighbours in that we have a good relationship, and so long as I use the same tree surgeons, I've been given an open hand.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Thanks everyone. I can't see how they'll get this tree down without scaring the birds off and the wood pigeon nest will be left with no cover. I don't want them to say they can do it and 'have an accident'. I have a few other nests and fledglings still being fed by parents in other parts of my garden, too. I'll have another word with the neighbours.
  • The tree has been there for the 19 years I've lived here. It's in the wrong place as it's too close to houses and casts huge shadow over a fifth of my garden but there's no reason I know of why the job can't wait til October. It's not unstable or diseased.
  • Nests are protected. From what has been written, the issue is potential disturbance of parents nearby? As Mike said, decent tree surgeons can be made aware of nests and work on accordingly. The problem with both doves and pigeons is their ability to breeding at any time, so even October might not be ideal.
  • In reply to ItisaRobbo:

    In some exceptional circumstances, trees can be taken down if a tree is in a dangerous condition. Such as if a tree could fall fall on top of someone’s home or even possibly fall on to a railway line or main road and these are covered in this part of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. This has to be proven as well that there was no other way but to take down the tree by a tree surgeon. The way the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside act at time is worded  is not always easy to understand. But these exceptional circumstances of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act can be read here in an easier form in these few lines, that can be allowed in these exceptional  circumstances.

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • In reply to THOMO:

    Ian, you have written your post in a way which suggests the nests referred to are in the tree about to be felled,
  • In reply to ItisaRobbo:

    ItisaRobbo said:
    Ian, you have written your post in a way which suggests the nests referred to are in the tree about to be felled,

    Sorry I didn’t mean that! I’ve just arrived home after been out all day birdwatching. And I’ve had problems with my internet for months. I meant to say that in exceptional circumstances trees can be taken down even with nesting birds trees can be taken down by a tree surgeon. But when this happens it has to be proven that there was no other way to make that tree safe. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear. I’ve had a long day!

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • In reply to THOMO:

    No probs. But, the nests aren’t in the tree.

    Re disturbance, I always avoid any unnecessary activity near nestboxes or known nests. I am not saying the referred to tree felling is fair enough. But it isn’t breaching any laws based on what has been written. Nests are protected. Rare, scheduled birds are protected from disturbance. Pigeons and doves aren’t. If I went outside and washed my windows, I would not be breaking the law if there was a wood pigeon nest in the garden.