05:00, 6 JUN 2016
BY HUGH FORT
Berkshire Ornithological Club members have raised severe concerns over the 225 home plan's affect on the bird population
Bird lovers have raised fears a plan for new “floating homes” in Theale could harm one of the last places rare nightingales can be heard singing in England.
Around 50 pairs of the birds live in the area where developers Berfeld Limited want to build 225 homes and members of the Berkshire Ornithological Club fear the development could have a serious impact on the birds.
However, the developer insists the presence of the birds has been “thoroughly considered” in the plans.
The campaigners say the birds are on the “red list” of the UK’s most threatened wildlife. They say the birds rely on nesting, feeding and singing undisturbed - in areas away from humans.
They fear if the development goes ahead it will lead to an influx of humans, dogs and cats, which could have a devastating effect.
Despite being endangered, scientists say the numbers of the birds on the site has held steady for a number of years. This shows the birds are breeding and bucks a national decline in numbers.
Dr Renton Righelato, chair of the Berkshire Ornithological Club’s conservation group, says: “If we are serious in the UK about protecting a threatened species, then this development cannot go ahead.
"Build here, or indeed anywhere around these lakes, and the nightingales will be lost.