Discussion Forum
Railway bankings

From Zilla Brown
Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Speaking of the condition of railway bankings (See Network Rail Devastation thread) it's good that the spring growth has finally come out to cover all the plastic waste. I am appalled at the condition of certain parts of the railway seen when travelling to Huddersfield. The Deighton area is festooned with plastic, even in the trees.

Going to Dewsbury on the new line is a revelation too. There is a waste company at the side of the track a couple of moments before arrival at the station and the vegetation on the banking is choking with plastic. Does anyone have responsibility for cleaning up?

From Tim B
Thursday, 15 May 2008

All birds, their nests and eggs, are protected by law and it is therefore an offence , with certain exceptions, to;

  • Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird
  • Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.
  • Intentionally take or destroy the egg of any wild bird
  • Have in ones possession or control any wild bird, dead or alive, or any part of a wild bird, which has been taken in contravention of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, (as amended) of the Protection of Birds Act 1954.
  • Have in ones possession or control any egg or part of an egg which has been taken in contravention of the Act
    - Intentionally (or recklessly, in England and Wales only (CRoW 200)) disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at (or near) a nest contain eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird.

A wild bird is defined as "any bird of a kind which is resident in or a visitor to Great Britain in a wild state. (Game birds are not included in this definition. They are covered by the Game Acts, which gives them full protection during the close season).

It would be an intentional act if, for example someone continued to remove vegetation after they discover, or are told that birds are nesting there. The discovery of a nest during the process of work will also prohibit further cutting work within an area or buffer zone around the nest.

It used to be the case that an act could be considered not to constitute an offence if it was an incidental result of an otherwise lawful operation and could not have reasonably been avoided; however, the "incidental result defence" as it was known, was removed as a result of an amendment to the Act in August 2007.

The only reasons I can think of where disturbance or destruction of birds or nests would be acceptable is if it was necessary as a matter of public health and/or safety. (this is maybe what the rail firm would argue but I don't know if this has been tested in court) Also, similar allowances are made where the bird involved is listed as a pest species. (Crows, Magpies, etc.)