Council increases street cleaning after duck poo complaints

Ducks gathering outside St Peter & St Paul's church in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Boode

Ducks gathering outside St Peter & St Paul's church in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

After businesses and residents expressed concerns about "dangerous" duck poo in a Norfolk town, a council has vowed to take action.

Ducks gathering outside St Peter & St Paul's church in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Boode

Ducks gathering outside St Peter & St Paul's church in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

Over the last year, multiple business owners and residents raised concerns to Swaffham Town Council (STC) over duck mess in the town centre, car park and the churchyard.

But after talks with Breckland Council, they have now agreed to increase street cleaning in the town to twice a week to help cope with the problem.

Swaffham councillor for Breckland, Ian Sherwood said: "While ducks are technically nobody's issue, we live in a rural area.

Breckland councillor and Conservative party agent, Ian Sherwood. Picture: Breckland Council

Breckland councillor and Conservative party agent, Ian Sherwood. Picture: Breckland Council - Credit: Archant

"They [Breckland Council] understand that the core issue is the mess that the ducks make, they are going to increase street cleaning and upgrade the pressure washer to deal with this so that's a very positive measure."

In a full council meeting held on December 9, STC voted to speak to Breckland Council about putting up signs at Pit Lane, Market Cross and the Church asking people not to feed the ducks when they are on land.

Dawn Buffers, 56 from Swaffham, feeding the ducks to try and help keep them out of the town centre.

Dawn Buffers, 56 from Swaffham, feeding the ducks to try and help keep them out of the town centre. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

At the meeting, councillors discussed how East Cambridgeshire District Council erected a sign on Ely's Riverside saying ducks and geese must only be fed on the water, not on the land. If people ignored this they could be prosecuted up to £2,500 for littering.

Breckland Council expressed their concerns over the proposal, stating it would be "unable to enforce it".

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In an email, made public in an STC meeting agenda, a council officer said: "Unfortunately it is our experience that signage does not work in these instances, we have attempted this elsewhere with little impact.

"One of the reasons it has so little impact is that we are unable to enforce it."

Duck poo all over the floor outside The Greyhound Pub in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Boo

Duck poo all over the floor outside The Greyhound Pub in Swaffham town centre. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant

The officer suggested the town council put up a notice on their website, which clerk Richard Bishop said was "totally inadequate".

In a further email sent by a different council worker asked STC to think about if there are any health or safety issues and also made the council aware that if they want to put up a sign, they need to make Breckland planning department aware.

The email will be discussed at the estates, heritage and site maintenance committee on January 20 at 4.30pm.

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