St John’s contractor sets out new wildlife policy

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Image Description: St John’s College, Oxford.

Thomas West Oxford, a contractor used by St John’s College Oxford at their North Oxford building site, has updated its wildlife policy after it was reported by a local resident that a lawn mower had run over a baby Roe Fawn on Friday 28th May.

A petition stated that the lawn mower had run over the Roe Fawn four times, leaving the mother in great distress. It also quoted messages from TWO staff, forwarded by Councillor Liz Wade that seemed to confirm that the incident had taken place. A concerned local resident had emailed local councillors after seeing a distressed doe on the site.

However, a later TWO and Boward Tree Surgery investigation did not find any evidence that the incident had taken place as was claimed, although their statement on the 1st June did admit that it may still have taken place. The driver of the vehicle, the statement says, did not see any animals, although the report also noted that on a vehicle of that size he may not have realised that he had hit an animal. TWO also apologised to the member of the public for the distress that was caused.

Measures have now been put in place to prevent any other potential incidents. These include full wildlife checks that will be reported before any further vegetation management, briefing further contractors on wildlife checks more thoroughly, and installing site monitoring cameras.

A spokesperson for TWO commented: “TWO has taken these allegations from a member of the public very seriously. It is never TWO’s intention to cause any harm or distress to wildlife. Following the report both TWO and Bowards carried out inspections of the area that was mowed. While we have found no evidence, that’s not to say that this tragic incident didn’t happen. We are sorry for any distress caused. We have put in place a clear policy for future contractors. We are installing heras fencing to secure the site and will ensure that it is clear before the fencing is closed off.”

St John’s College welcomed the statement from TWO, with the Principal Bursar stating:

“The College was very concerned to hear about the potential incident that took place on Friday 28 May. We are very pleased with the thorough and detailed investigation that has been undertaken by Thomas White Oxford (TWO). As the TWO statement sets out, they have not yet identified anything that would suggest that there was any injury to an animal. The College does, however, fully support the additional measures that have been taken by TWO in this matter. As set out in the statement, it was not a St John’s College mower but one operated by a TWO contractor. We do appreciate the concerns that have been raised and we will continue to work with TWO to ensure that we, and they, develop this site in a responsible manner.”

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