North Norfolk Council leader 'disappointed' by misunderstandings over cliff netting
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
The leader of North Norfolk Council has said she is saddened by "misunderstandings" between council officers and the RSPB over netting put up on Bacton Cliffs.
Sarah Butikofer made the comments following outrage from the public after netting was placed on the cliffs as part of the Bacton/Walcott Coastal Management Sandscaping scheme, which aims to prevent coastal erosion, stopping sand martins from nesting.
She said: “I am hugely saddened and disappointed that apparent misunderstandings between council officers and the RSPB have brought us to the position we are in, and will continue to work with partners to resolve this as quickly as possible.
“As the Leader of North Norfolk District Council I would like to make it absolutely clear that concern for the conservation of bird, animal and marine life is of the utmost importance to me, and is at the heart of the Bacton-Walcott Sandscaping project.
“This is why we are liaising with Natural England, the RSPB and other wildlife organisations who have been advising the Council from the start, and every effort will continue to be made to ensure that birds will not be harmed.”
The issue made national headlines with it being discussed on BBC Radio 2 where it was debated by presenter Vanessa Feltz and BBC Radio Norfolk’s Bob Carter.
“One purpose of the Bacton-Walcott project has always been to protect seaside habitats for both humans and wildlife on this very vulnerable stretch of the North Norfolk coast,” Ms Butikofer added.
“Maintaining the ability of birds to nest here long-term is vitally important. Additionally we need to protect hundreds of families and their homes against the devastation that they would face again if we saw a repeat of the storm surges of 2013 and 2017.
“The Council cares passionately about preserving all aspects of our coastal environment, which is one reason we are among the first councils in the UK to promote a Climate Change Emergency, putting the management of our natural resources at the forefront of our policies and action.
“We will continue to act on the advice of wildlife specialists and listen to the concerns of the public as we proceed with this important conservation project, in the interests of every person and every creature living along our beautiful coastline.”