Being too house tidy is impacting on our wildlife

Sightings Urban Pipistrelle Bat Paul Ardron

Sightings Urban Pipistrelle Bat Paul Ardron

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Following from Lucy Shaw’s letter on bat droppings last week, I suggest sitting outside any potential bat roost site on a warm evening and watching to see if anything comes in or out.

Remember that bats and their roosting sites (maybe your loft) are strictly protected and they do no damage.

Bats will use the roof space of quite modern houses and one of the reasons for the decline in bats and birds like house sparrows or swifts, is that we are often too tidy and ‘clean’ with our buildings. This removes possible roosting, or in the case of birds like sparrows and swifts, nesting sites.

The result in some areas has been a catastrophic fall in populations.

With this in mind, if you have bats, sparrows, swifts or house martins in your property, then you are doing your bit for conservation, so celebrate and enjoy.

On a less encouraging note, I have had lots more enquiries about trees in Sheffield and can only summarise a few issues.

I hope that I may have more to report over the next few weeks.

Those living close to Meadowhead may have noticed that the three trees spared first time around because ‘a pigeon was nesting in them’, have now gone too. If you were worrying about the hazard of such dangerous trees, then you can now sleep soundly!

One issue appears to be that a big chunk of city council work is now outsourced to private contractors, in this case Amey.

This is not necessarily bad but it does mean that the delivery of, for example, tree management, is now locked into a 25-year contract.

Therefore, if anything important has been missed out then presumably it is too late to alter this.

It also seems to result in a situation, very confusing for the public whose trees are being felled, where there are various different organisations and structures in place for dealing with all this.

Meadowhead for example, seems to be a project implemented in part at least by Amey, but led by Sheffield City Council through Streetsahead.

However, the plans for street tree management in the Meadowhead area are apparently through Amey under their contract with Sheffield City Council and this is not connected to the street trees on the Meadowhead roundabout.

So anyway, I am glad we have cleared that one up.

However, I would urge everyone who cares about Sheffield’s trees to get involved in the rolling consultations, as I know this what both Amey and Sheffield City Council’s highways team would want.

Also, talk to local councillors, check my blog for updates, and send your views to me and to the Star.

n Professor Ian D Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on ianonthewildside@ukeconet.co.uk; follow Ian’s Walk on the Wildside, www.ukeconet.org for more information.