Council under fire over toxic and corrosive pigeon droppings under Brentwood railway bridge

Health risks from ‘toxic and corrosive’ pigeon droppings under a mainline railway bridge close to a busy high street “cannot be allowed to persist”, Brentwood Council has been told.

To deal with the “totally unacceptable” situation under the Shenfield railway bridge a motion from Tory councillors “resolves to deploy the necessary resources to treat the affected area to effect a deep clean and maintain a regular cleaning regime until adequate measures are taken to deter the pigeons from the area”.

The motion that has been put to the council adds that erecting wire and fencing, use of a falcon or deployment of sound devices can all help to provide a solution against the pests whose droppings under the bridge have remained a long standing problem.

Pigeon droppings contain harmful fungal spores which can lead to respiratory disease and can corrode metal at bridge-bearing zones.

Network Rail says it is aware of the problem – anti-pigeon protection is already in place in critical areas of the Shenfield rail bridge to prevent birds nesting on the abutments. Repairs to the pigeon protection were made in June.

The motion set to be discussed on September 27 said: “The situation regarding pigeon droppings under the Shenfield Railway Bridge has deteriorated badly over the summer months and has become totally unacceptable.

“Such waste material contains harmful fungal spores which can lead to respiratory disease. Effective measures such as erecting wire and fencing, use of a falcon or deployment of sound devices can all help to provide a solution. It is the council’s view that the health risks to members of the public from the current unhygienic situation cannot be allowed to persist.”

The council will be asked to “deploy the necessary resources to treat the affected area to effect a deep clean and maintain a regular cleaning regime until adequate measures are taken to deter the pigeons from the area.

The motion also asked that the council arrange an urgent meeting with Network Rail and the relevant borough council officers to secure delivery of the necessary work to both the Bridge and the Railway Station roof to deter pigeons from nesting.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Anti-pigeon protection is already in place in critical areas of the Shenfield rail bridge which prevents birds nesting on the abutments as nests and guano can have a corrosive effect and prevent effective drainage which causes accelerated deterioration to metallic elements at bearing zones. We responded to a report by Brentwood Council earlier this year by making repairs to the pigeon protection which were completed in June.

“We understand the council’s concerns and we are willing to have further conversations about the condition of the bridge.

“As Network Rail is publicly funded, the value of installing any additional protection would need to be balanced against the practicality and additional cost of maintaining inspection access and undertaking repairs to the structure itself.”

Advertisement

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter