Derry City Council has said it has checked 60ft trees earmarked for felling at Bay Road for birds’ nest in line with the law, after concerns were raised.
A local man has expressed concern that the cutting down of 55 established poplar trees along Bay Road Nature Reserve has spilled over into March, when protection for wild bird nests and roosting comes into force.
Local resident Stephen McMonagle from Kingsfort Crescent this week questioned whether it was permissible for works to be carried out to the trees from now until the end of August.
A spokesperson for Derry City Council said an ecological survey had been conducted prior to the commencement of the removal of the poplar trees, following approval to remove the trees at the Council meeting on 24 February.
A spokeswoman added: “The tree removal has been hampered by the recent adverse weather conditions. Therefore, the full tree removal has been extended into the start of March. The works re-commenced on Wednesday 4th March, following the clearance of the snowfall”.
She added: “The remaining trees were surveyed by an ecologist, which confirmed that there were no birds nesting in these trees. The Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 states that it is an offence ‘to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird; or take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built; or take or destroy an egg of any wild bird’.
“Therefore, Council has taken the necessary precautions by conducting ecological surveys, to ensure that there were no birds nesting or nests in these trees prior to and during the removal of these poplar trees.”
She said that Council will replace the 55 poplar trees, with semi-evergreen tall shrubs, to provide a wildlife corridor that will support a broader range of species.