Islington MP raises destruction of green area by railway in Parliament as police investigate

Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a parliamentary motion noting his “astonishment” at Network Rail’s behaviour in destroyed a green area where birds were nesting

The Islington North MP has called for a debate on the matter in the House of Commons.

Furious wildlife campaigners have already called in the police over the incident and British Transport Police is investigating to determine if any crimes have been committed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Islington Council leader Cllr Catherine West has also written to the organisation demanding it stops the work and activists staged a protest last Wednesday outside Network Rail’s headquarters at Kings Place, in York Way, King’s Cross.

Publicly funded Network Rail has insisted it carried out daily visual checks for nests ahead of the work, but Emma Dixon, of Islington Green Party, said the work was done at ground level where it would have been impossible to spot birds through the dense summer foliage.

She said: “Clearly there has been a total failure to carry out the necessary ecological surveys and a total failure to protect nesting birds, eggs and fledglings.”

Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, said: “The scale is unprecedented. A 200-metre strip of woodland has been destroyed. We have photographic evidence of nesting birds in the site.”

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Her deputy, Cllr Richard Greening, described the clearance as “disgraceful”.

Resident Donna Grant, 53, of Ashburton Triangle, Drayton Park, said: “This beggars belief – we are worried it will be covered in Tarmac.”

A Network Rail spokesman said trees and plants can cause tracks to become unstable, cover up signals, fall on the line and prevent workers getting to safety when trains are passing.

She continued: “It is essential we keep trees, plants and vegetation under control. We carry out surveys before and during work to prevent nesting birds being disturbed.”