Town square trees to be trimmed after residents plagued by birds' droppings

A car covered in starling mess caused by the Kent Square flock

A car covered in starling mess caused by the Kent Square flock - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Five trees in a Great Yarmouth square which are home to a flock of starlings which keep leaving droppings on cars and homes are to be trimmed back.

Residents of Kent Square and surrounding roads had complained about having to clean up bothersome bird droppings from their homes and cars. 

Councillors were advised by planning officers to vote in favour of the trees being cut back at a meeting of the borough council’s development control committee on Wednesday (March 30).

The main reasons given for the works was that it would prevent the trees from being damaged by taller vehicles, and the visual impact of the trees being “beset by nesting starlings which has resulted in the grass beneath the trees dying”.

An officer told the meeting that he understood the proposed trimmings were routine maintenance works, prompting laughter from Labour councillor Michael Jeal, who said the trimming had nothing to do with a routine or schedule, and “everything to do with them little things with wings that are called starlings”.

Michael JealPicture: James Bass

Michael JealPicture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

Mr Jeal proposed a motion to approve the works, seconded by his Labour colleague, and former MP, Tony Wright, who said: “I can assure you that the amount of birds’ mess in that area does actually cause an environmental health problem.”

Tony Wright, councillor for the Nelson Ward, said that 'takeaway culture' is a problem when it comes

Tony Wright, councillor for the Nelson Ward, said that 'takeaway culture' is a problem when it comes to pushing for healthier lifetsyles. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

The works will involve removing all branches that exist up to five metres from the ground level and cutting back any remaining limbs above the five-metre height by up to two metres from their tips. 

One resident had contacted the council to say the tree maintenance programme should not go ahead, as the murmurations of starlings attract people to the town.

The objection read: "Has the council considered the benefits these birds bring?

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"Many people have visited Great Yarmouth to witness the stunning murmurations, providing income through parking charges and spending money on local shops and cafes when otherwise they would not visit Great Yarmouth.

"A biodiversity plan for the area is needed to include the starlings.

"The revenue the murmuration sightings bring in could be significant if the council promoted the spectacle some more."

Some 10 letters of support or no objection to the tree cutting plan had meanwhile been sent into the council.