Anger over North Walsham pigeon cull change-of-heart

Furious councillors have launched an attack on 'do-gooders' from outside North Walsham who have caused a planned pigeon cull in the town to be put on hold.

North Walsham Town Councillors, meeting last night, were also angry that they were not consulted about the decision to call-off the cull, which would have seen birds trapped and humanely destroyed after years of unsuccessful efforts to tackle the growing problem of pigeons, dubbed a nuisance and a health hazard.

One councillor called for all those 'outsiders' who had protested against the cull to be given a pigeon each to take away.

The cull, by North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) environmental department, was due to begin this month in a bid to reduce pigeons roosting in the Market Place area where they gather in disused shops and on ledges, splattering pavements with droppings, feathers and nesting debris.

But the decision to cull, reported in the EDP, Evening News, North Norfolk News and their websites, sparked an outcry among pigeon lovers and NNDC decided on a postponement after an approach from Hingham-based animal sanctuary PACT and Cynthia Roberts, from Norwich, who offered to remove the birds from the town.

Ms Roberts has already taken eggs and young birds from nests above Market Place businesses to rear them elsewhere.

Town councillor Dave Robertson said: 'We were not extended the courtesy of being told about this change of policy and what right have people who don't live in North Walsham to influence what happens here?

Most Read

'I don't mind doers of good but I have a great deal of difficulty with do-gooders.'

Chris Allen added: 'Why was a decision taken to reverse this campaign? They are very much a health hazard. Pigeons can create a problem with salmonella and campylobacter bacteria being carried into homes on people's shoes.

'I suggest that all the people who live outside the town and complained about the cull are given one of our pigeons in a cage to take home and look after.'

But Eric Seward, a town and district councillor with responsibility for the environment, assured members that there had been no change of policy, 'merely of methodology.'

Following approaches to NNDC it had been decided to take up the offers from those who said they would remove pigeons alive from the town and release them elsewhere once they had been 're-orientated' to prevent them returning to North Walsham, said Mr Seward.

'That doesn't mean there has been any relaxation in the drive and determination to reduce the pigeon population which I believe is essential,' he added.

The trial would continue alongside other preventative measures, including the use of mesh and spikes on town-centre buildings. Mr Seward said most people in the town wanted the problem solved.

Previous attempts to reduce bird numbers have included the use of a Harris hawk in 2008 which was flown along Market Place in a bid to scare away pigeons. Councillors abandoned that idea after learning that to be effective, the hawk would have to be brought in twice a week for a year at a cost of about �20,000.