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Owl rescue’s part of the job during Storm Eunice clear-up

1:28 pm, Saturday, 19th February 2022 - 2 years ago

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A TAWNY owl rescue was all part of a ‘round-the-clock job’ for North East Lincolnshire Council’s Environmental Services team, as the Storm Eunice clean-up operation was in full swing.

With wind speeds of up to 80mph battering our area during Friday and into the night, the workers were called to almost 20 incidents of fallen trees and large branches blocking roads and strewn across parkland and green spaces.

In St James Square they worked into the night clearing debris left and they returned to the Duke of York Gardens early on Saturday to assess the situation with a large section of Willow tree that had been felled.

After making it safe the night before, the area around it was taped off to be cleared completely on Monday morning. People are asked to ensure they avoid that immediate area.

With winds likely to remain strong over the weekend, people are also asked to avoid park areas if possible and beware of loose debris and branches that may still be flying around. They are also reminded to keep their garden furniture stored, tie down trampolines and children’s outdoor toys. Businesses are advised to take A-boards and stand-alone signage inside. Everyone is asked to pick up their bins and put rubbish back it it’s blown out.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of any injury to people locally. However, one tawny owl had a close call when it was discovered in a huge fallen conifer tree just as workers were about to clear it from Abbey Road using chainsaws.

Lead arborist Phil Smith explained how the sheltering, and shocked owl, was spotted just in time by the team which swung into action to help the bird.

“It was clearly shocked and looked pretty distressed. We took it out and wrapped it in a towel, when we noticed it appeared to have injured its wing,” said Phil.

Placing the owl carefully in a box, Phil took it home – fearing the worst as its eyes were shut, it was breathing very deeply and just lying still.

Taking advice from the Cleethorpes Wildlife Trust, Phil left the bird in the care of his wife as he went back to work. He returned later to find it had recovered and was flying around the family living room!

“I was so pleased to see it, and to be honest was almost in tears – it seemed perfectly fine,” added Phil.

After a visit to the Cleethorpes Wildlife Trust for a health check the owl was taken back to the area it was found for release.

Praising the teams for their work over the last two days, the council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Cllr Stewart Swinburn, said: “The wind speeds and strength of the two storms but particularly Eunice, is something we do not witness often and it’s testament to the dedication of our teams that they work, day and night, to ensure our borough is kept as safe as possible.”

With winds set to pick up again tomorrow, albeit it not so bad, people are reminded to take care and keep the following information to hand:

Power: Got a power cut? Report it and track it: www.northernpowergrid.com/power-cuts- external site 

Trees and branches: Fallen tree, dangerous tree, large branches fallen or hanging branches – if it’s on public land, please call us on 01472 313131 to report it.

Problems at roadworks: if you see problems in roadworks, visit Roadworks and road closures – NELC | NELC (nelincs.gov.uk) or ring the relevant company showing on any signs.

Dangerous buildings: if you spot something dangerous on a building, contact Building Control 01472 326289, option 2, or 01472 313131.

Driving in high wind

There’s some great advice on RAC about driving in high winds – remember motorcyclists and high sided vehicles are especially vulnerable to cross winds: www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/winter-driving/safe-driving-in-windy-weather- external site . It’s likely that the Humber Bridge will be affected in the next few days: https://www.humberbridge.co.uk- external site 

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