Dunmow mums swing into action to stop heavy machinery from destroying shrubland

Land owner stopped from clearing land.Bannister Green.May 13, 2013.Photograph by Michael Boyton.Pic

Land owner stopped from clearing land.Bannister Green.May 13, 2013.Photograph by Michael Boyton.Pic shows: Catherine and Jacquie on the land that was being cleared.Names (L-R): Catherine Kershaw; Jacquie Smith. - Credit: Archant

SWIFT action by two mothers from Bannister Green has saved the natural habitat of breeding birds and animals from being destroyed.

Jacquie Smith and Catherine Kershaw jumped into action on Monday after spotting heavy machinery operating in shrubland behind their homes.

While Mrs Kershaw confronted the digger operator, Miss Smith phoned the RSPCA for advice.

Miss Smith said: “The land may be fairly small and overgrown, but it is a haven for wildlife, especially at this time of the year which is the middle of the breeding season.

“The RSPCA said they considered the incident as a priority. They explained the work should be stopped immediately because clearance of the land shouldn’t be conducted without a survey or investigation by a recognised authority such as Natural England. They also said I should call the police.”

The digger driver said the land was being cleared so Ordinance Survey could measure the plot.

Police turned up and an officer from the RSPCA carried out an inspection of the plot. He said the bushes and trees were full of nesting birds and there were “clear badger and deer runs through the undergrowth”. He stopped the work immediately.

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An RSPCA spokesman said: “Nature and wildlife has a very good way of using small plots of unspoiled land, especially at this time of the year. People should try to leave these areas undisturbed until after the breeding season.”

The land is owned by Debenham Homes. Director Ben Debenham said: “This was just maintenance work that we do every 10 years or so to keep the plant growth on the plot down to a manageable state. On this occasion, the timing just fitted in with our plans. It’s got nothing to do with the Ordinance Survey.

“As soon as the RSPCA asked us to stop because of the nesting birds, we stopped.”

He said it was possible the clearance work would restart when the breeding season is over.