Call for netting to stop pigeons roosting under Transfer Bridges

Sisters Jayne Upton and Deb Watson have been walking beneath Transfer Bridges every morning to get to work for the best part of 25 years. They say they are sick of the smell and mess left by the nesting pigeons.

The problem has been getting worse as a result of people feeding the birds, they claim.

Now they have called on Network Rail, which owns the bridge, to replace the existing ineffective spikes placed on the historic bridge’s iron girders with netting that will do a better job of preventing the birds from roosting there.

Jayne, 52, from Gorse Hill: “In the mornings on our walk to work there’s a lady and a man at different times who feed the pigeons, which is making this whole problem a lot worse.

“The authorities do come and deep clean the bridge, but they’re not getting rid of the problem.

“It’s worse now than it’s ever been. We took photos and sent them to Network Rail, saying it really needs looking at.”

A video of the pigeons taken by the sisters and posted to Facebook has been viewed more than a thousand times. Jayne said: “Everyone was saying it’s disgusting. Someone said they walked their children to and from school under the bridge and a couple of times their children had been pooed on.”

She said those working on the bridge wore special protective equipment, presumably to stopped them breathing dust from the excrement left by the pigeons.

“They’re protected, but pedestrians have to walk under here with no protection,” Jayne said. “Lots of people walk under this bridge. Have we just got to put up with it?”

The sisters say the anti-pigeon spikes left on girders under the bridge are ineffective. The birds appear to have knocked some spikes off, while one particularly determined pigeon has built a nest on top of the metal spikes.

Netting like that put up beneath many London bridges could provide the answer, said Deb, 54.

“There are priorities. We do understand that,” she said. “But this is an environmental health problem because of the smell under here that we’re all breathing in. To get it cleaned and get a net up it’s not going to cost so much.”

Local ward councillors have been in touch with the borough’s environmental health team over the pigeon menace.

Ray Ballman, a ward councillor for Gorse Hill, said a meeting had been due to take place between the council and Network Rail.

She added: “We have had the bridge cleaned more than once, but it’s an ongoing problem. I appreciate that it’s quite a mess under there.”