Security in clash with biodiversity

Parks urged to keep undergrowth despite best-practice safety advice

Park managers should keep their undergrowth, rather than removing it in accordance with safety best-practice advice, according to a report from the London Parks & Greenspaces Forum. Project co-ordinator Peter Sibley said police advice was to clear sightlines in parks and clear shrubs so that criminals cannot hide in it. But he added: “That approach is devastating in terms of diversity, which means so many parks are dull and boring. It’s not just about safety, but wildlife as well. “A balance can be reached. What’s good for people is good for wildlife. If people like it, birds like it,” he continued. The forum contracted London Wildlife Trust to survey 292 parks from 0.1ha to 3ha in size. It found 6,712 birds from 31 species. Most common was the feral pigeon and blackbird. Sparrows were found on just 27 sites. Main project funding came from the Bridge House Trust charity.

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