Cambridge University apologises after covering trees with anti-bird nets

Extinction Rebellion tore down the netting on Thursday night

The University of Cambridge “unreservedly apologise” for placing anti-bird nets on 20 trees at the West Cambridge site, issuing a statement on Twitter.

On Thursday (27th February), Extinction Rebellion tore down the nets, describing them as “appalling”, adding “Cambridge Uni again showing it is an enemy of nature.”

According to the University, the netting was placed to prevent birds from nesting whilst building works to extend the Whittle Laboratory are being carried out. A University spokesperson stated they were added “to discourage birds from nesting” during building work.

The naturalist Chris Packham has criticised the University, calling the nets “totemic symbols of the destruction or disturbance of [birds’] habitat.”

Media Manager for the RSPB, Martin Fowlie, described the decision to cover the trees as “morally dubious”.

The University initially said it would check the nets three times a day for wildlife, but later admitted in a tweet that their decision to use the nets was “wrong” and they will remove them.

They have stated that “the building work requires the trees be replaced or moved to another spot”, and have not addressed the foam-filler preventing wildlife nesting in holes within the trees.

Cover photo credit: James Linsell-Clarke/