Pigeon poo damaging City Hall

COUNCIL chiefs have again declared war on the pigeon population threatening to destroy parts of City Hall which celebrates its 70th birthday this year.

COUNCIL chiefs in Norwich have again declared war on the pigeon population threatening to destroy parts of City Hall which celebrates its 70th birthday this year.

The city council says that corrosive pigeon droppings are eating away at the fabric of City Hall and has applied for planning permission to install a protective post and wire system on the top of the landmark building to stop the birds roosting there.

It's not the first time that pesky pigeons have been seen as a nuisance in the city and it comes just five months after fresh calls were made for council bosses to tackle the problem and for the public to stop dropping food for them to eat.

Meanwhile, less than a year ago, the Dean of Norwich Cathedral said the birds sometimes known as 'flying rats' because of the diseases they carry had become a serious problem at the 900-year-old building.

Norwich City Council spokeswoman Amy Lyall said: “We have applied to install pigeon protection on the top of City Hall to protect this important listed building from damage.

“City Hall is made of sandstone, which wears away easily, and pigeons regularly roost on top of it. Pigeon excrement is corrosive and is beginning to damage the building, so we want to discourage them.”

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Experts say that pigeon mess on buildings and statues not only spoils their beauty, but the acid content of the droppings eats away at the stone and decorative detail causing long term damage. The birds can also carry diseases such as salmonella although these are rarely transmitted.

However, Guy Merchant, director of Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS UK Ltd), which offers advice and assistance for humane, no-cull control of feral pigeons, seagulls, geese and other birds, has criticised the council.

He said: “A few years ago we carried out a two-day survey for Norwich City Council on a citywide control system for pigeons, but it looks as if the council has completely ignored this.

“We would never recommend post and wire systems to any client in the world. They are the most expensive and the product that will degrade the fastest of any pest control.

“Drilling thousands of holes into the fabric of a building to put in these stainless steel posts is more detrimental to a building than corrosive pigeon poo. The council has obviously taken advice from a commercial contractor rather than independent advice from bird experts. To use public money on this is disgraceful.”

Amy Lyall added: “We worked closely with PiCAS to find a humane and non-lethal solution to the pigeon problem, and they offered us a number of possibilities including the option of dove-cotes.

“After careful consideration of all our options, we identified the wire system as a humane choice which was also economical and could be put in place easily.”

The planning application will now have to go to the Government Office for the East of England (GO-East) for approval, as it's the city council's own application and City Hall is listed.