A bird in the bush means no pets in the houses...

Just got a call from the Daily Mail - they alerted me to a story in today's Sunday Times...

A property developer has banned homeowners from keeping cats or dogs to protect birdlife on nearby heathland.
Residents on a new estate who fail to comply with the ban could ultimately face eviction.
The prohibition applies to houses with gardens as well as people living in flats on the 450-home estate on the edge of Farnborough, Hampshire.
The development lies a mile from 32 square miles of heathland that is protected under the European Union Birds Directive. Redrow, the developer, has excluded cats and dogs to pre-empt any planning veto.
The heathland is home to the endangered Dartford warbler as well as nightjars and woodlarks.
The species nest on or near the ground, making them vulnerable to predators.
The Mammal Society estimates that Britain’s 8m domestic cats kill as many as 5m birds a month.
Locals are bemused by the ban as most of the protected heathland is open to the public, who are free to roam across it with their pets.
Ann Widdecombe, the Tory MP and cat owner, said: “The dictatorial nature of this decree is unbelievable. The developer has exceeded its powers by telling people what pets they can and can’t own.”
The RSPB said the ban was “unenforceable.”

How ridiculous!
A pet-free ghetto. What a very miserable place to live that would be. And if the council is anything like nearby Runnymeade I'm sure Redrow will get their planning consent. Why are so many councils so anti-pet?
And why will the people keeping a dog in their homes upset the birds more than those walking their pets on the common? Or the foxes who come and go without restraint.
The world is going absolutely bonkers.


Anonymous said…
Absolute poppycock!

The RSPB itself says: “Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.”

Human beings - and especially property developers! - are what are causing real damage to birdlife through loss of habitat, pollution, global warming etc.

Blackshuck said…
Developers should ensure that with the houses they build the infrastructure and amenites are adequate to deal with the population. This includes open greenspace for dog walkers and children to play in etc. Generally called 'multi-purpose greenspace'. But areas important for wildlife cannot always be multipurpose. The onus was on the developers to provide greenspace for pet owners, and to educate new homeowners on how to minimise their and their pets impact on the local wildlife.

Are they going to ban loud parties, bikes and litter dropping teenagers as well?
Julia said…
I suspect the only way that the developer can do this is via covenants if the houses are freehold. And they aren't exactly easy to enforce and developers rarely bother, especially several years after they've finished the development. Even if it's leasehold such restrictions are often not enforced. For example, it hasn't stopped the plethora of cats in the flats my father lives in!

Personally I think it's a bit stupid - pets aren't really going to kill that many birds. But I suppose if people want to live in a sterile, pet free zone then perhaps this is the place for them. Ironically, such people are unlikely to be those that value and get pleasure from the local wildlife!

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