MEASURES to help conserve wild bird populations are to be trialled on St Mary’s Lands.
Warwick District Council’s executive and St Mary’s Lands Working Party have agreed to follow the recommendations of an independent ecology survey.
It will see temporary barriers installed during bird nesting season in a bid to stop ground nesting birds from being trampled and disturbed.
The district council says the initiative forms part of the masterplan for St Mary’s Lands which aims to protect and enhance the site for native wildlife.
Recent improvements have also seen the successful introduction of a wildflower area to provide a crop suitable for bird feeding and four wetland areas.
Environment spokesman Alan Rhead said: “We all want to keep our parks and green spaces open for all users to enjoy, but at the same time we also have a responsibility to safeguard our natural biodiversity. The measures we are taking do not require the closure of any public footpaths, we therefore consider them to be a proportionate response to create an area for birds like skylarks to nest undisturbed without effecting community access.”
But the Friends of St Mary’s Lands say there is no evidence the birds need protection, with no incidents on the racecourse recorded between 2011 and 2020.
A spokeswoman for the management committee said: “The Friends of St Mary’s Lands are amazed Warwick District Council is going ahead with fencing off a very large area of the Lands to protect ground nesting birds. This is despite the Friends’ objections to this proposal on several grounds.
“However, the Working Party appear to be excluding us now as members. We are not being kept informed and have received no responses to our suggestions and comments, five of which were alternatives to fencing.
“The RSPB advise skylarks and meadow pipits are not of conservation concern and it is not against the law to disturb them. Neither is it a legal requirement to protect them, so why are the large number of people wanting to enjoy this beautiful area being restricted from February to September? The birds only begin nesting in April.”
Fencing is set to be put in place next week.