Pigeon feeding banned in Trafalgar Square
Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Local Government
Hundreds of pigeons flock to Trafalgar Square in London
Pigeon feeding has been banned throughout the whole of Trafalgar Square, Westminster City Council announced today.
The council has secured a tough new byelaw banning the feeding of the birds on the square's pedestrianised North Terrace which falls under its jurisdiction.
The ban also applies to the entire perimeter of the square, the area around St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, the space directly in front of the National Gallery, Canada House, South Africa House and parts of The Mall, Charing Cross Road and The Strand.
It closes a legal loophole exploited by a handful of individuals and animal rights groups who continued to throw bags of bread, cake, biscuit and corn to hundreds of birds on a daily basis despite the GLA imposing a ban on the rest of the square in 2003.
Anyone who breaches the legislation faces prosecution and a possible fine of up to £500.
The council has been forced to act after pigeon enthusiasts often turned up with up to three bags of feed at a time, attracting hundreds of birds whose droppings and mess sparked complaints from residents and office workers.
Councillor Alan Bradley, Westminster's Cabinet Member for Street Environment, said: "We are pleased that this legal loophole has now been closed. We clean the North Terrace several times a day but the pigeons - attracted by the food - leave a significant amount of droppings.
"This is deeply unpleasant for the large number of visitors to the square as well as to the people who work nearby. It is not uncommon for three carrier bags of pigeon feed - up to 20kg - to be left on the North Terrace at any one time.
"Many of the people who feed the birds on the terrace are part of a hardcore of organised animal rights groups who persist in their activities despite being asked not to and safe in the knowledge that up until now we've had no power to prevent them.
"It is also cruel to feed the pigeons in this way because it artificially increases the size of the flock to unsustainable levels leading to poor health and deformity among the birds.
"I would stress though that it is not our intention to harm the pigeons in any way. We simply want to make sure the world famous square continues to be a clean and welcoming place."
The National Gallery, which has complained to the council in the past over the pigeon droppings in front of their building, said they welcomed the new byelaw.
A spokesman said: "The National Gallery is one of the most famous tourist sites in London and the pigeons cause an immense amount of damage to this Grade One listed building. They pose a serious health hazard for our staff who have to walk through them every day and they are an unpleasant nuisance for many of our visitors.
"Trafalgar Square has become a popular place for people wanting to relax and enjoy some space in the centre of London. The absence of pigeons will enable them to linger and admire the impressive architecture, people-watch and participate in the square’s events programme knowing that they are in a clean and safe environment."
Hugh Player, Chief Executive of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, added: "We appreciate that this has been a very complex issue but we are pleased that the debate has been resolved and that all participants can now move forward.”
A series of signs are due to be erected around the North Terrace warning people not to feed the birds. They will also carry the message in French, Spanish, Arabic, Urdu and Mandarin.
The byelaw came into force on 3rd September but the council is enforcing the ban from today (Sep 10th) following the installation of the signs.
Westminster applied to the Department for Communities and Local Government for the byelaw.
Don't miss the 24dash.com audio bulletins for the latest news and information - http://www.24dash.com/podcasts