Nests not nets

Netting in trees
University of Cambridge removes tree nets following social media campaign.


The RSPB has said the charity wants to see nests and not nets, and is "appalled" to see netting used once again to prevent birds nesting.

Humanity facing a twin nature and climate crisis: wildlife must be allowed to thrive and we all have a role to play in not letting this practice go unchallenged.

The RSPB is aware of netting being placed on around 20 trees on the University of Cambridge campus which has resulted in an impassioned reaction by the public in demanding the removal of the netting, to which the University has now agreed. In addition to the obvious concerns, the netting appeared unsafe as the holes were big enough for small birds like robins to get through.


At this time of the year, as birds will be thinking about making the next generation, we need to ensure they have a suitable place to raise their chicks, not preventing from nesting, feeding and gracing us with their beautiful birdsong.

We are asking that developers and planners take their actions into consideration and know the suitable alternatives to netting, which will not threaten and silence nature.

In this important year for wildlife as the world makes key decisions on nature and the environment, it is shocking to see the use of netting on trees rearing its ugly head.

We must be supporting nature and helping it to thrive rather than covering trees, hedges and bushes in netting which prevent birds nesting. In addition, netting may become damaged, meaning birds who get into the netting may not be able to escape.


Jeff Knott, RSPB operations director, said: “I can’t believe we’re here again, but we won’t give up. This practice must stop. Nature needs us to do better.

"Last year we saw cases of netting all over the UK and a corresponding social media campaign to get it removed. It would be a massive own goal for developers to go through all this bad publicity again.”

Britain has lost 40 million birds over the last 50 years and as a society we need to be doing everything we can to halt this decline. It is vital that the use of netting in such instances is reported and everyone can help to spot and stop it.

Members of the public can take action by following these three steps. Firstly, tell the developer, your local council and your MP how you feel. You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them here. 

Secondly, take photos of the netting and share them with us and your local community using the hashtag #NestsNotNets. And finally, Support each other! We can only save nature if we work together.

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from the RSPB.

Image: Bella Lack, Twitter

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