Concerns raised over Margate tree clearance during nesting season

Concerns over harm to nesting birds and wildlife have been raised Photo Dan Thompson

Thanet council is sending its biodiversity and horticultural officer to attend a site by the Premier Inn in Margate following concerns over workmen undetaking tree and undergrowth clearance during nesting season.

Workmen are on site clearing an Oak and other trees from the plot by The Promenade, next to Margate railway station.

A nearby resident says they were told the work was underway “due to concerns about a homeless person sleeping there.”

A Thanet council spokesperson said a check would be made and advice offered to those responsible, adding: “Our biodiversity and horticultural officer will see if he can attend as it is strongly advised not to carry out this type of work in the nesting season and if they do, to check for nesting birds first.”

The RSPB recommends to avoid hedge cutting during the main breeding season for nesting birds, which usually runs throughout March to August each year. This can be weather dependent and some birds may nest outside this period, so it is important to always check carefully for active nests prior to cutting.

It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built, or to intentionally kill, injure or take chicks or adults, or intentionally take or destroy any eggs.

An intentional act would be know there is an active nest in the hedge and still cutting, damaging or destroying the nest or contents in the process.

A Whitbread (responsible for Premier Inns) spokesperson said: “Essential maintenance is always carried out outside of nesting season, except in exceptional circumstances such as for safety reasons, including the prevention of vermin, clearing of rubbish, fly-tipping or if overhanging or weak branches that would pose a risk to the public or children’s play areas.

“In Margate, professional accredited third-party contractors are trimming a number of hedges, which are individually checked for nesting birds before being scaled back.”

If an active nest at risk, contact the police on 101, and ask for a reference number.

If you are unsure what to do, contact RSPB Wildlife Enquiries on: 01767 693690.


  1. Where are the protests? Where is the encampment? Where is the graffiti slating Premier Inn? Rent-a-Mob can’t be bothered this time?

    • Jolo, More than likely the ‘rent-a-mob’ (as you unkindly put it) weren’t told as is often the case with these sly companies. Why are you moaning about people protesting against the destruction of our environment? Premier Inn, this is appalling. Worries over a homeless person and you go and chop down nature in response? It’s just a decoy for clearing trees in nesting season, utterly shameful.

  2. “Our biodiversity and horticultural officer will see if he can attend”… Does he/she need to ask permission or check their diary?

  3. That’s typical of TDC that area is always been part of the landscaping scheme since the creation of the hotel and seating area I have never seen a homeless person sleeping there.The council done the same in marine gardens there was homeless people sleeping there but distruction of the bushes was unnecessary.I thought the council was interested in the environment or is this another cost cutting exercise whoever reported this wants to have compassion if there was a homeless person sleeping there mischief here again by an ananomous person.

  4. Here we go again. It is impossible to be sure there are not active nests in dense shrubbery like this unless you, ahem, disturb the nest! No regard for law at all, or apparently for reputation of Premier Inn. I suppose trade is good enough next to a railway station so nature conservation is considered irrelevant. Well I certainly won’t be staying at Premier Inn again!

  5. The men/women who do this work should know the rules, if not, it should be tattoo’d on the palm of their hands!

  6. Why do they cut down trees and hack back bushes when there has been so much about that kind of damage in the local and national Press?
    It’s almost as if they know that “the rules don’t apply to them”. Despite all that the government says about reducing carbon in the atmosphere, major developers carry on as before, destroying the environment.
    Lots of politicians talk of stopping climate change but it is almost as if the developers know that they can actually do what they like and it will all be “sorted out” behind the scenes.
    A bit like tax rates for major companies. Taxes can always be avoided because the government just leaves enough loopholes in place.
    And the government leaves enough loopholes in environmental laws that the same companies can ignore them.
    Leaving the Local Authority staff run ragged trying to keep up with all the apparent breaches of the law that, soon enough, get quietly “justified” because of some –you guessed it—loophole in the law.

  7. This is terrible, the poor homeless person has found the best place possible, and probably feels more secure in bushes, not behind a locked door like the rest of us.

    No, can’t have this, let’s destroy the place, making sure he has absolutely nowhere.

    Oh, don’t worry about the wildlife, just pretend there was none there.

  8. The businesses that carry this kind of work out during the nesting season should lose their licences as they know the rules exactly. The Premier Inn should take ultimate responsibility for hiring such a company which should know the regulations. About time TDC actually enforced this on those breaking regs. Some fines issued would be a start. Stopping the work until out of season should be the main priority though. The TDC Tree officer as he was originally called should be on his toes to reported issues like this. FGS, there has been plenty of publicity locally for everyone to know not to do it. The fines are quite hefty if enforced!

  9. This story makes me laugh. The hypocrisy of the council. Next to Asda the council cut down a tree using the excuse it was diseased. I photographed this tree. It wasn’t they cut it down because from what I could see it was blocking a view.

    • and if they did not whoever did should be fined the maximum possible there is too much of this behaviour going on in this wasteland

      • I agree, keith bean. I just worry that local authorities are so short of cash that they dare not take on a major, well-funded company in a legal battle. That could cost thousands of pounds and there are always lots of loopholes leaving the Council with the bill for a failed Court action.
        Then there will be the usual complaints about TDC “wasting tax-payers money” etc. “Just over a tree!” etc.

        Getting all philosophical, I could ask what value is our democracy if a large, rich but unelected company can do just what it likes without bothering to ask, yet our actual, democratically-elected local body has neither the money or the power to stop them? Things are seriously skewed against the public in this country.

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