Second survey to be carried out on Horncastle pigeon - and poo - issue

A second - and longer - survey will be carried out to assess the ongoing pigeon problem in Horncastle.
Pigeons on the Post Office roof.Pigeons on the Post Office roof.
Pigeons on the Post Office roof.

The matter was discussed in length at this month’s Horncastle Town Council meeting and saw a majority vote (5 in favour, 4 against) for a second survey to be carried out.

The findings from the initial survey - and a 45 minute walk around the town - indicated that there was not a pest problem.

Speaking at the meeting last Tuesday, Councillor Richard Barker said: “Whilst I was present at the walkabout and the results were as reported I have to say making a decision which is long term, based on a 45 minute walk around, is not the way I would say you have made a professional and meaningful judgement.

“Therefore I would suggest that before this is finally put to bed that a greater time usage is made to actually carry out a proper survey over 2-3 weeks.

“As I now live in town I can honestly say that there is a problem, it is a health problem and it is a damage problem.

“Whether or not the council agree with me or not, I merely want that on the record please, and I will leave it to the council to decide because it will come back and haunt you later.”

Speaking in support of the second survey, Councillor Angela Birchall said: “The first survey was taken during lockdown and the town was very different then.

“We didn’t have all the rubbish around town, the dropped food etc so it probably was that the pigeons went elsewhere

“So I think it would be a good idea to maybe have another survey when we are back to something like normal

Councillors also agreed that they would write to properties in ‘pigeon hot spot areas’ in the town.

Councillor Terry Macarthy said: “The very least we could do is write to the people who own the properties that are empty and ask them to have the exits and entries bordered up to stop the pigeons roasting and breeding.

Councillor Dominic Hinkins added: “We discussed the pigeon poo to death at the last meeting, we went ahead with the survey and it sounds as though there isn’t a massive problem.

“There is obviously a small problem with pigeons in the town, but I’m still not convinced it is worth our while doing anything about it when it is - at best - a temporary and expensive solution

“I would support the proposal that we write to building owners.

“I just want to make the point that regardless of how many surveys we do the point has been very well made - people have been trying to get rid of pigeons for centuries and it is just not going to be plausible to eliminate them entirely. They will always come back.”

As revealed last month, Coun Barker asked fellow councillors to support a ‘humane’ cage system.

It involved setting up cages at recognised roosting points and transporting the pigeons 25 miles before releasing them.

His idea would have cost an initial £8,000 - rising to as much £14,000.

Speaking at this month’s meeting, Councillor James Martin said: “I’m not a pigeon expert and wouldn’t want to comment as one.

“I do think it is a really difficult issue and the sums of money involved - £9,000 a year - is a huge sum of our budget.”

Councillors also agreed to set up a ‘pigeon watching group’ to monitor the issue over a three or four week period, a group which Coun Barker agreed to lead on.