WORK to remove netting beneath the jubilee bridge described as a 'pigeon graveyard' has begun today by the council.

It comes after a petition with 2,400 signatures was handed in.

Katherine Owen, Respect For Wildlife UK and Councillor Jane Smith, Animal Welfare Party town councillor for Alsager, Cheshire, handed the petition into the council this morning, Thursday.

Last month the RSPCA and fire service had to attend the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn to release a trapped pigeon which angered passersby who called for the removal of the netting.

The council stated it would be removed but could not guarantee a specific date due to health and safety issues surrounding coronavirus.

Kathy said: "Despite the council stating this was the only bird in 2020 to be trapped we have pictures to show many birds have been trapped and have died in this netting under the bridge.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

"Halton Borough Council have known for months, possibly longer, that birds have been dead and dying in the netting. We have had all sorts of excuses from them, 'died from other causes, no reports of trapped birds, netting damaged by vandals' etc., all of which are entirely inplausible.

"This petition with 2,400 signatures from local people and others all over the world, shows how people care."

She added: "It became the responsibility of this council that when they had the bridge netted they had to ensure no birds were caught in it and to keep the netting in good order. The pictures are there for all to see.

"Halton Borough Council should have removed this netting long before now."

Jane added: "This is due to sheer people power, with compassionate local people calling and e-mailing the council absolutely furious and very upset that taxpayers’ money was being spent on such a cruel practice.

"If we humans can’t design bridges without having to install netting which is a death trap to wild birds, then we need to re-think the bridges. For the council to now agree to take down the netting is a victory for the local people and wildlife groups who have campaigned against it, and we’d like to encourage people and groups everywhere to oppose bird netting where they see it – call those councils and landowners out on it, and tell them they may not use the public purse to fund nets that are in effect wild bird death traps.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

"We share our spaces with wild animals, including pigeons, and human infrastructure needs to be designed humanely around them. It’s just not good enough to build a bridge and then install bird nets hoping that the public won’t notice. Compassionate people do notice, and when we do see it we’ll do something about it, every time.

"We’d like to thank every single person who has helped us speak out against this netting.

"And our message to all councils and to landowners is: please start designing bridges and buildings and other infrastructure with due consideration for wild animals, because people demand it and animals have a right to it."

A spokesperson for the council confirmed that work to remove the netting would commence today and should be completed within five days.