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Appeal launched after three swans strike Needham power lines

Residents of Needham are calling for greater safeguards for the local wildlife, after a number of birds were injured or worse from flying into overhanging cables.

Three swans struck the high-voltage power lines near to the wild marshland between High Road and the River Waveney, all within ten days at the end of last month.

One of the birds died from its injuries, while the other two were rescued by local residents David Green, Doug Sitch and Chris Wood, and taken to Oakwood Vets in Harleston for treatment.

The trio, who all own sections of the land along the valley, have now appealed to UK Power Networks, which owns and maintains the lines in question, to install ‘bird diverters’ — bright plastic globes — on the cables in an effort to prevent further incidents by making them more visible to animals.

“It’s quite shocking to face this spate of calamities in such a short space of time. It’s very distressing,” Mr Green, of High Road, told the Diss Express.

“We all try and take an interest in the wildlife. We love being able to see it.

“It is a complete mystery why we have had this happen in a short space of time.”

Mr Green, a retired journalist who has lived in the area for 20 years, said he suspected two of the swans which hit the cables were parents of six young cygnets living nearby.

He also reserved praise for the “excellent” care provided by Oakwood Vets, who have since handed the two surviving swans over to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre in King’s Lynn.

According to the centre, both birds are still being cared for and their health is currently being monitored closely, although one of them is said to be in a “very serious” condition.

Replying to this appeal, UK Power Networks has stated it will conduct an assessment of the site in order to determine how it should respond to the matter.

A statement issued on behalf of the electricity supplier said: “UK Power Networks is aware of a resident’s concern and an engineer will be surveying the lines to see whether bird diverters will be a suitable solution to the problem.”

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