Then came health and safety. The Corporation of London, who in all the time I have lived here I have yet to see perform a single worthwhile act that benefits wildlife, decided that the trees in the copses were dangerous. Being so attractive to Woodpeckers, and so, well, dead, there was a risk that they might fall on someone, and that that someone might sue. So breeding Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers be damned, all those trees are now gone. You cannot argue with health and safety. It's like trying to argue with the Olympics, utterly pointless.
The copses are used by breeding Starling, breeding Stock Dove, and Woodpeckers. Blue and Great Tits feed in them, as do winter thrushes. Squirrels and Noctule Bats call them home, and when we had Little Owls, they lived there too. Human activity is confined to the drinking of lager, the lighting of barbeques, the dropping of litter, and casual sex. All of those activities could do with a large lump of wood interrupting them in my opinion. But no, the Corporation does not want to be sued by a bunch of half-drunk eastern european migrants or aged doggers, so the trees have all been reduced to bare trunks. The sensible thing to do would have been to fence off the copses, and leave nature to run its course, which would result in lots of nice dead wood for invertebrates, and the continued presence of breeding Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. But no, a branch might crush a drunk, so it's far safer just to get rid of the trees altogether. At least the beetles and grubs will have some nice logs to get going on though. Er, no. They constitute a fire hazard, and so have been removed in case the local youf or aforementioned drunks decide to burn them.
I spent a good two hours looking for Lesser Spots on Wanstead Flats today. Guess what?
|I took this in 2010|
|Now the tree looks like this.|
|A big two fingers up to wildlife|