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As someone who’s angered by litter, I applaud the stance Thurrock Council in Essex is taking in an attempt to bring litter louts to heel, by fining culprits £75 (see story below). I hope that before long the initiative leads to litter-free streets in Thurrock and that other councils that aren’t already taking litter louts seriously, will follow suit.
I also hope though, that the council is sensible in terms of who it fines, and doesn’t bring itself into disrepute by fining someone – as Swansea Council did earlier this month – who’s simply feeding the local wildlife.
In case you’re not familiar with the ‘crime’ in question, a young woman, who had amused herself by sharing her chips with nearby birds, is being taken to Court by the council for not paying the litter inspector who caught her in her moment of generosity, the on-the-spot fine he demanded.
I would back the council if any chips had been left to litter the area, but understand that the greedy pigeons and seagulls had consumed everything on offer, thus leaving the street clean.
The comment by the litter official that had the woman been feeding the birds seeds rather than chips she wouldn’t have been fined, puts paid to the council’s argument that the fine was given as it’s campaigning to prevent people from feeding pigeons and seagulls which are seen as a nuisance and need to be discouraged, inferring perhaps that it doesn’t like being ignored...
I understand that with more frequent attacks by seagulls in particular, which try to steal food that’s not being freely given, the council wants to ensure that they’re not encouraged, but there’s probably little difference between chips and seeds when considered by a hungry pigeon, so in this case, a friendly explanation and a warning not to feed seagulls and pigeons in the streets should have sufficed, don’t you think?
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24th November 2016