Protest to tackle bird netting at Louth Town Hall

Protest against bird netting at Louth Town Hall
Protest against bird netting at Louth Town Hall

Pet shop owner and animal rights activist, Meg Johnson, 21, has organised a peaceful protest at Louth Town Hall due to her ongoing concerns about birds - including racing pigeons - becoming trapped in netting around the building.

At the time of going to press on Tuesday lunchtime, almost 100 people have expressed their interest in the protest, which begins outside Meg’s shop, Potty About Pets in Mercer Row, at 10.30am on Saturday November 2, before heading over to Louth Town Hall for 11am.

Meg Johnson has organised the peaceful protest.

Meg Johnson has organised the peaceful protest.

As reported previously, birds have become caught in the protective netting around the upper floors of the town hall and, in some cases, birds have been trapped there for several days before being rescued - but often it has been too late to avoid lasting injury or even death.

Meg told the Leader that her campaign began in August 2018, and an RSPCA inspector said the current netting is ‘not fit for purpose’ in March 2019.

However, Meg has claimed that - despite promises that action would be taken to resolve the problem - there has been little progress.

She said: “I informed the RSPCA that a protest would happen, as the people of Louth have had enough and if we don’t see action, then other measures will take 
place to remove the netting.

A pigeon trapped in the bird netting earlier this year.

A pigeon trapped in the bird netting earlier this year.

“We appreciate that it is a listed building and needs some bird deterrent measures, but the netting in its current state is a death trap.”

Andy Howlett, the chief executive of Louth Town Hall, responded: “Since March we have been searching for quotes to replace the netting with an up-to-date netting that is secured effectively to ensure it is fit for purpose.

“Despite asking many companies, we have only received a quote from one company that can/is willing to do the work and that was for £28,000 - a sum that is currently out of our capacity as a not-for-profit community company.

“At least three-quarters of that price is solely for ensuring safe access for the workmen carrying out the work and removing the existing netting - the assumption that removing the existing netting would be easy is simply not correct.

Andy Howlett at Louth Town Hall

Andy Howlett at Louth Town Hall

“Since March we have been cutting away the netting to ensure free access for the birds when we can access the areas, and birds can now come and go freely from areas where they congregate. We also check the netting at least three times a day as recommended to us by the RSPCA.

“It isn’t that nothing has been done since March, but we are a community company, we don’t get any grants to support what we do and we have to generate all the money required to keep the building open and provide the services that we do. We do not have a unlimited pot of money.

“I have provided funding to ensure that the building can remain working for the community, but I cannot fund the netting.

“We have searched for grants to carry out this work but we have not been able to find any.

“If anyone can help, either with funding, services or information on where funding might be obtained we would be grateful for the help and/or information.

“In terms of the planned protest - everyone is entitled to their view and to express that view in a peaceful protest.”

• To find out more about the planned protest next month, search for the ‘Peaceful Protest: Removal Of Pigeon Netting’ event on Facebook.