Joy for wildlife campaigner after removal of netting under Devonshire Road Bridge

A wildlife rescuer has spoken of her relief after Blackpool Council removed netting under Devonshire Road bridge, which had become a death trap for pigeons.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:21 am

Mel Greenhalgh, who runs Brambles Wildlife Rescue in South Shore, had raised concerns with the council over the safety of pigeons under Devonshire Road bridge, after witnessing increasing numbers of dead birds stuck behind netting.

In February, Mrs Greenhalgh visited the bridge after receiving calls from members of the public who were worried about birds being trapped.

After discovering a number of dead birds which had become trapped behind netting - implemented to prevent them from roosting - she called for safer measures to be installed to prevent further unnecessary suffering.

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Pigeons can now roost safely underneath Devonshire Road bridge, as dangerous netting was removed by Blackpool Council following a plea from Brambles Wildlife Rescue. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

But now, thanks to Mel's pleas for a resolution over the last six weeks, the netting has been removed - enabling pigeons to safely roost underneath the bridge.

"Everyone should have the right to be able to eat and to live, and they're not doing any harm there by roosting there," Mel said.

"Plastic spikes have been kept on the walkway, but that's not going to hurt them because they won't land on them.

"They can now nest there and their babies will be safe as well."

Devonshire Road bridge is safe for pigeons again after Brambles Wildlife Rescue campaigned to Blackpool Council to remove fatal netting. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Blackpool Council's Street Scene officers attended the bridge following Mel's request to investigate the issues, and said it had been "extremely difficult" to ensure all birds had left the roosting site during patch repairs on the netting, due to its size.

John Blackledge, Blackpool Council's director of Community and Environmental Services, said: “We introduced netting under the bridge as a public safety measure to prevent pigeons roosting and fouling on pedestrian areas.

“Having assessed the issue of pigeons on occasion being trapped in the netting the decision taken was to have it removed to prevent further incidents.

“The areas of roosting which cause the biggest nuisance of fouling above the footpaths have now been treated with plastic spike protection to reduce the impact of fouling.

Devonshire Road bridge. Photo: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“Initial inspections have identified minimal fouling on the pedestrian areas and weekly mechanical sweeping and general weather conditions will ensure the carriageway remains unaffected.

“The steps taken will be monitored to determine if the balance between animal welfare and concerns of health and safety for members of the public has been achieved.”

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"If there are holes in any of the netting which is put up, birds can get in but can't find their way back out, so it isn't safe," she added.

"The roads are cleaned every week so their droppings are cleared up, and there are no risks to humans.

"This has been a happy ending all round, I'm really pleased."