Housing estate brings in ‘no cat policy’ banning pet moggies to protect rare birds

Residents on a new housing estate will be banned from keeping cats to keep a local population of rare birds safe from attacks.

Esquire Developments, which is building the homes, agreed to a “no cat policy” in an effort to settle opposition to the houses from the RSPB and Natural England, which warned that domestic cats kept by the estate’s new residents could threaten the Nightingales.

The proposed development of 68 homes off Cliffe Woods in Rochester, Kent, is close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Chattenden Woods and Lodge Hill; the most important in the country for nightingales, the RSPB said in a letter to planners last year.

The birds nest close to the ground, making them vulnerable to predators.

The RSPB said: “Nightingales will be highly vulnerable to the indirect long-term impacts arising from the proposed housing, including disturbance from noise and artificial lighting, recreational disturbance (where access allows) and predation by domestic cats.”

Councillor Chris Buckwell said a cat ban was pointless as residents living in roads surrounding the development would not be subject to similar rules.

Esquire said it would set up a management company to monitor the “no cat policy”.

Medway council agreed to the plans, pledging to work with the firm to enforce the rules.

Two weeks ago, Bass Coast Shire Council, south-east of Melbourne, Australia, announced a total ban on cats outdoors, sparking a wave of fury from pet owners.

No cats will be able to wander the streets from July next year and residents will be fined $180 (£102.50) for each breach.

“The best thing for cats is for them to be contained,’ Bass Coast Shire Council CEO Ali Wastie said.

“We have penguins, we have an abundance of wildlife. The only way to keep our wildlife safe is to have these cats contained.”