RESIDENTS of Iford are outraged after the BCP Parks team "destroyed" hedgerows used by nesting birds as well as surrounding wildlife.

On Tuesday, July 28 residents witnessed workers undertake maintenance at Sheepwash which entailed cutting hedges, flowering meadows and grass.

Many residents and bypassers were concerned for the welfare of local wildlife who were impacted by the changes made.

Mark Pierson said: "When it was pointed out to the workers that herons and kingfishers were regularly spotted in the immediate vicinity, I was told 'Well, they won't be here for long with the noise we are making'. When asked to stop because birds were nesting, the operative stated birds were not nesting at this time of year.

"As a member of the RSPB and with decades of experience of farming and working closely on environmental protection projects, I have never seen such blatant disregard for nature or the safety of residents."

Mark and other residents were appalled at the destruction of flowers too, with a grandmother having to console her granddaughter who was upset by the works being undertaken.

They were also disappointed to see the carnage left by BCP workers, who, according to Mark, left plastic and rubbish strewn across the paths, which were also littered with sharp wooden splinters.

Mark added: "This area is beautiful. I've lived here since 1996 and recently, because the council cut maintenance, I and others have cut grass and maintained the area. The council appear to want to tell us not to trim brambles that are a danger to path users, don't want us to tidy up the area so people can play outdoors, and yet they then turn up and, using illegal working practices. wreck our area.

"BCP Council need to come and look at the damage. They also need to stop telling locals to cease looking after the area because residents do a far better job. Debris was left floating on the river and residents are shocked. This destruction has to stop."

The council's cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Felicity Rice, said: "In responding to several complaints regarding overgrown vegetation significantly reducing the width of the shared pedestrian/cycle path along a small stretch of the Stour Valley Way at Sheepwash, pruning work was undertaken to cut back this year’s growth to its original growth line. Work of this nature is permissible under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, but as a precaution an environmental impact inspection was also undertaken before commencing any works.

"The team also took the opportunity to cut the spring flowering meadows and cut back any grass overhang along the path whilst in the vicinity. This would have been part of our planned maintenance routine."