Newbury protesters hatch nest-box plot

Daily Telegraph March 11 1996

Michael Fleet

CAMPAIGNERS against the Newbury bypass have nailed 40 nest boxes to trees in the path of the new road to try to halt clearance work by the Highways Agency.

The agency must suspend work when the nesting season begins and yesterday Friends of the Earth tried to encourage an early start. About 60 people gathered near Speen on the central section of the route to put up the boxes. They hope to attract blue tits, coal tits and woodland birds before the land is cleared in two to three weeks' time.

The group supplied some boxes and local people brought along others. «They are in a variety of sizes for different birds and people will be checking to see when the birds move in.

«There is a protesters' camp nearby and any attempt to cut down trees with boxes will attract attention. Birds have more rights than human tree dwellers and cannot be kicked out by court order,» said Neil Verlander, of Friends of the Earth.

Protesters have been evicted from six camps on the bypass route. The evictions will continue this week.