Local Writer Stops Council Hedge Cutting

This small, local action was carried out on the spur of the moment, but worked and probably saved the lives of hundreds of nesting birds and other inhabitants of the hedgerow ecology. Just goes to show that anyone can do it if they care enough - you don't always need chains and tubes.

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NATURE-LOVING Keith Farnish stood in front of tractors to stop them getting to birds nesting in hedges.

And Keith’s defiance has managed to halt a council hedge-cutting project in his local park.

Keith, 38, sprung into action when he spotted council contractors lopping two foot off the top of hedgerows, as he walked home through Sweyne Park, Rayleigh.

It stopped workers in their tracks, and Rochford District Council has now decided to call off the whole project until the end of the nesting season.

Writer and dad-of-two Keith, who lives in nearby Eastcheap, is delighted.

He said: “That’s brilliant news.Obviously, the council needs to review its policy so it won’t happen again.

“It’s so important the council takes into accounts patterns of nature.

“It was about three miles of hedgerow they would have massacred and it would have destroyed nesting birds. Sweyne Park is the only green lung that Rayleigh has.”

Keith said the hedges are used by sparrows, blackbirds and robins, and about 20 metres had been cut down by the time he arrived after dropping off his children at school.

He said: “It’s just pure chance I happened to be there and saw them. I said to the contractors that I will just stand in front of your machinery until you go.

“These guys seemed OK though I got their goat a bit. The manager told me they will just have to pack up and go somewhere else.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever stood in front of machinery. It’s just something I had to do.

“I felt empowered because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t feel threatened at all.”

(from http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/local_news/rayleigh/4431250.Keith_makes_...)