£6k plan to cull Newcastle's pigeons
TRADERS could be asked to help meet the £6,000 cost of a pigeon cull.
Shooting and cage trapping are among the options being proposed to reduce the growing population of pigeons in Newcastle town centre.
Complaints about the birds from residents and businesses have shot up since lethal controls were stopped five years ago.
Newcastle Borough Council is now considering reintroducing the methods as part of a range of measures to tackle the problem.
Officers will ask businesses if they would be willing to support the cull, both by contributing financially and allowing access to rooftops.
A 12-month pilot will cost around £6,000.
The council has received 23 complaints about pigeons this year, compared to just three in 2008 after the last cull.
Members of the council's public protection committee will discuss the issue on Monday.
A report by officers recommends a three-pronged approach.
As well as lethal controls, they propose discouraging people from feeding pigeons, possibly with the threat of fines.
The officers also suggest that more town centre buildings should be protected against pigeons.
Their report states: "Control requires long-term support of residents, traders, and sustained cleansing and enforcement by the council.
"No single element will provide a solution, and unless commitment can be obtained to continue actions for at least 12 months, little impact will be seen."
Lethal controls were stopped in the town centre in 2007 due to falling support from businesses.
Carl Evans, president of Newcastle Chamber of Trade and Enterprise, believes there are bigger issues in the town centre than pigeons.
He said: "The council could maybe do more to discourage people from feeding pigeons. I don't think we should be fining people for doing that though.
"But there are an awful lot of other things the council should be doing to help the town centre. For one thing they should be reducing the cost of accessing the town centre by making parking cheaper."
Earlier this month The Sentinel reported how businesses in Castle Walk were calling on the council to tackle the pigeon problem.
Jason Murphy, acting manager of Pound Bakery, said he was pleased councillors were discussing the issue.
He said: "It is a big problem here. The pigeons will just walk into the shop."