MORE than 1,500 people from Stroud have signed a petition calling for an end to the netting of hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting.

The petition has gained 350,000 signatures across the UK, and demands for legislation to protect nesting birds and for parliament to take action.

Stroud is now the UK constituency with the second highest number of people backing the petition.

David Drew, MP for Stroud, is backing calls for a halt to the practice.

And on Monday, MPs debated the need for legislation to protect nesting birds, following increasing numbers of reports of developers using nets to prevent birds nesting in or near sites they hope to be able to develop.

“It came as no surprise to see that Stroud people are so outraged by this practice," said Mr Drew.

"More than 1,500 people in the constituency have signed this petition.

"Like me they care deeply about their environment and our wildlife,” he said.

“Hedgerows are an essential habitat and birdsong is one of the joys of the countryside.

"Developers are trying to evade restrictions by putting nets on hedgerows.”

In their debate on Monday, MPs agreed that the practice of putting nets over trees and hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting should stop or at least be subject to tighter regulation.

“I am pleased that this issue is now being recognised,” said David, who added that he regretted that he was unable to attend the debate because of long-standing diary commitments.