“Fire” gel scares off pigeons from North Walsham hot-spot

A lemon curd-like gel is set to become part of North Walsham's growing armoury against a plague of town-centre pigeons.

Dollops of Bird Free Optical Gel have been in place at a pigeon hot-spot for about a month and have proved very effective, according to Margaret Foster, clerk to North Walsham Town Council.

The fluorescent gel is believed to trick pigeons, which have infra-red vision, into believing the area is on fire and so they fly away.

A trial of the gel has been taking place along the roof of the Break charity shop, on Market Place, and Mrs Foster said a long-standing pigeon problem there had noticeably improved as a result.

More than three bin bags filled with pigeon droppings were removed from the roof before the gel was put in place.

The town has been battling for several years to control the number of pigeons, many of which roost in empty shops and on the ruined church tower.

They have been responsible for ugly and dirty stretches of droppings, nesting debris and feathers on pavements and in alleyways.

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North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is now expected to discuss extending the gel scheme with North Walsham Chamber of Commerce chiefs.

Mrs Foster said one possibility could be that bulk quantities were ordered, keeping prices down for individual shopkeepers.

The gel was also hailed a huge success earlier this year when it was trialled, for the first time in Norfolk, at The Mo Sheringham Museum which had suffered two years of pigeon problems since opening in 2010.

Meanwhile North Walsham businesses will continue with more traditional pigeon deterrents, including spikes and netting.

Previous campaigns have also included a cull of about 100 birds by NNDC in January, and flying a Harris Hawk along Market Place which scared away smaller birds. There are also plans to pilot a sonic deterrent in a small section of Market Place.

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