Campaigners concerned about the significant damage and losses to forests and woodlands caused by the invasive grey squirrel, reveal that tree damage is only part of the cost that the non-native species is having on the economy.
“For some time we have had anecdotal evidence of the damage grey squirrels cause, other than to trees, specifically damaging wires and cables and disrupting power and communication lines,” explains Charles Dutton, of conservation charity the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI).
“While we continue to highlight the significant impact grey squirrels have on woodland and forests, and how they compromise government commitments to plant new woodland, at the cost of billions to the taxpayer, we now have first-hand evidence of the damage they are also causing to our vital communication networks.”
A senior BT Openreach engineer has supplied ESI with direct evidence of the damage caused by grey squirrels on its phone wires, stating that it is quite common to find wire to be eaten through by squirrels.
“Why they do so, we have no idea, and while sometimes the wires do kick back, the damage they can cause is as yet unquantifiable,” Mr Dutton said.
“But, if you consider our reliance on our telephone systems, particularly with working from home and flexible/hybrid working patterns remaining popular, it is clear there is a considerable cost.”