Bird Strike Committee Proceedings


Date of this Version

May 1999


Many bird species are attracted to landfills which take domestic or putrescible waste. These sites provide a reliable, rich source of food which can attract large concentrations of birds. The birds may cause conflicts with human interest with respect to noise, birds carrying litter off site, possible transmission of pathogens in bird droppings and the potential for birdstrikes. In the UK there is an 8 mile safeguarding radius around an airfield, within which any planning applications must pass scrutiny from regulatory bodies to show they will not attract birds into the area and increase the birdstrike risk. Peckfield Landfill site near Leeds, West Yorkshire was chosen for a trial of a netting system designed to exclude birds from domestic waste landfills. The site was assessed for bird numbers before the trial, during the netting trial and after the net had been removed. A ScanCord net was installed for 6 weeks, during which time all household waste was tipped inside the net. Gull numbers decreased on the site from a mean of 1074 per hourly count to 29 per hourly count after two days. The gull numbers increased again after the net had been removed. Bird concentrations in the surroundings were also monitored to assess the effect of the net. Bird numbers in the immediate vicinity of the landfill site were higher than those further away. When the net was installed, the bird concentrations adjacent to the landfill site decreased. Corvids were not affected by the net as they fed on covered waste which was available outside the net throughout the trial. This shows that bird problems on a landfill site are complex, requiring a comprehensive policy of bird control. A supporting bird scaring system and clear operating policy for sites near to airports would be required.