Network RAIL has come under fire for recent work felling trees and clearing scrub along railways, with wildlife experts warning they could be illegally destroying birds’ nests.
The RSPB said that trees and shrubs along rail embankments were home to an estimated 1.5 million birds’ nests.
All wild birds, eggs and nests are protected by law and the destruction of nests during the nesting season between March and August is generally considered to be a criminal act, the RSPB warned.
There are also concerns that cutting down trees removes the shield they provide to homes along the railway. Darren Moorcroft, head of species and habitats for the RSPB, said: “Network Rail has a vital role in protecting public health and safety and we recognise this will mean removing trees occasionally.
“However, Network Rail also has a duty of care to local wildlife and residents.”