About 50 environmentalists yesterday staged a 'green ribbon' protest against construction of the Lok Ma Chau railway spur line, which they say threatens a vital bird habitat in Long Valley. The protesters tied green ribbons to a fence at the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's Hunghom station, along with slogans calling on the Government to protect the freshwater wetlands. Conservancy Association president Ng Cho-nam said the proposed route for the 7.4km spur line would damage the wetlands and irreversibly harm the habitat of more than 200 species of migratory birds. The activists from various green groups are lobbying the Government not to issue an environmental permit to the KCRC to build the spur line, part of the West Rail project. A KCRC spokeswoman yesterday repeated that it had chosen the proposed route after careful study. She said alternative routes running further south or north would disrupt the lives of thousands of villagers and affect public facilities. 'Because of these serious social implications, we are left with no alternative but the option to cross Long Valley,' she said. Measures would be brought in to mitigate any harmful impact. 'We are confident no birds will be driven out as a result of the construction and operation of the spur line,' she said. The director of environmental protection is due to decide the fate of the project by October 17.