Council told it will break bird protection laws if the collar dove nesting in the 25ft-tall Christmas tree is disturbed
6:32PM GMT 17 Jan 2016
A town's 25ft-tall Christmas tree will have to remain standing for at least another month after a dove decided to nest in it.
The fir tree in Paddock Wood, Kent, was due to be taken down on January 5, but bosses at Paddock Wood Town Council were told it would break bird protection laws if the collar dove was disturbed.
The town, which has a population of 8,200, will now be 'celebrating Christmas' until at around mid-February, which the collar dove chicks are full fledged and able to take wing on their own.
The bird with its clutch of eggs was discovered last week as council contractors set about removing decorations from the tree.
It is a lovely story. I hope she manages to raise her babies. I would only ask people to stay away from the tree and leave the dove in peace
Parish clerk Nichola Reay
All wild birds and their nests are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to 'intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst it is in use or being built'.
The Act adds that it is illegal to 'intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird'.
The maximum fine for disturbing a wild bird is £5,000 and/or six months in jail.