Ooooh, that Mary Poppins! She’s cruising for a hefty fine!
Leaflets are to be sent to every house in Portsmouth telling people not to feed pigeons and seagulls.
Portsmouth City Council’s environment department has come up with the scheme as it fears some people offer daily ‘banquets’ to the birds, risking a population explosion.
And it has warned that in the future ‘repeat offenders’ could be fined.
Right, well, this can indeed cause a nuisance, which it clearly is doing. Or, is it?
Environment boss Eleanor Scott said: ‘There are parts of the city where complaints are regularly made about pigeons, particularly in Fratton, and seagulls, in Southsea, Old Portsmouth and across the city.
‘It’s not that there are far too many at the moment…
OK, well, good pro-active work here then? What do you plan to do?
…under the new scheme, which would aim to see people stopped from feeding birds except in parks, a by-law would have to be passed, similar to that in Westminster, where people are banned from feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
The by-law, if passed, will cover the whole city and ban people feeding birds on any street.
And presumably also in their gardens?
Cllr Scott said: ‘People like to feed the birds, and we don’t want to stop them‘.
Well, clearly, you do. I mean, just how are you going to stop people feeding blue tits and robins in their gardens, without also feeding pigeons? Put up a ‘No pigeons allowed by council bye-law!’ sign? Because I think birds can’t read.
Though they are considerably less bird-brained than Portsmouth councillors…
‘But the risk of disease and the fact the food also attracts rats means we have to do something. If people want to feed birds, they can go to parks with a small amount of seed, and do it there‘.
Ah, ok, well, can you define ‘a small amount of seed’? And who is going to enforce it? Are you going to have Park Wardens with measuring jugs stationed at every council park entrance?
Come on, Eleanor, you really haven’t thought this one through, have you?
‘We don’t want to spoil people’s enjoyment, and it’s good for the city to have wildlife and birds in it, but we all have to work together to deal with the issue, keeping the numbers low so they don’t become unpopular and picked on.’
I’m even more confused now, Eleanor. Who is it who will become ‘unpopular and picked on’? The birds? The bird feeders?
It sounds to me very much as if you don’t have much of a clue, but you feel a need to ‘do something’, but you don’t want it to have too much of an effect, because then you might get criticised and…
Sorry, just what did you become a councillor for in the first place?