Anti-bird netting only for 'exceptional circumstances'

A hedgerow covered in plastic netting Image copyright Arwyn Roberts/Reach PLC
Image caption Netting was placed on hedgerows surrounding the site of a new "super" primary school in Llangefni

Netting trees and hedges to stop nesting birds shows "an imbalance in society's relationship with nature", the housing minister has said.

Julie James has written to Welsh councils saying they should do all they can to avoid the practice.

In a letter to planning chiefs, seen by BBC Wales, she has insisted nets should only be deployed in "exceptional circumstances".

Wildlife Trusts Wales said it showed "great leadership".

Ms James said the planning system had "a key role to play in helping to reverse the decline in biodiversity and increase the resilience of ecosystems".

"Through early engagement developers should avoid circumstances that require netting to be used."

"It is essential that all those involved in the development process are familiar with and engaged to deliver wider Welsh Government legislation and policy to maintain and enhance biodiversity".

Last month, Anglesey Council said it was looking at other ways of dealing with nesting birds following an outcry over netting used on hedgerows at a development site near Llangefni.

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