‘Bird brained’ ban on feeding pigeons
List of activities Hillingdon council wants to stop
FEEDING pigeons and using remote-controlled cars in parks are among a raft of activities Hillingdon Council wants to ban.
The council has listed eight activities it proposes to prohibit in the borough’s parks and open spaces, plus five it hopes to outlaw in all public places. Under the proposals – now open to public consultation – all of the actions would be made criminal offences, punishable by a Fixed Penalty Notice of £80.
The targeted activities also include failing to leave any park by closing time, spitting anywhere in public and having more than four dogs in one person’s sole charge in any park or open space.
However Josie Appleton, founder of civil liberties group the Manifesto Club, described the ban on feeding pigeons in particular, as “birdbrained”. She added: “Essentially, this is a move of councils into interfering with activities in public spaces in a way that’s really not necessary and not helpful.
“What you end up with is sanitised streets and parks with a list of banned activities at the entrance, and it’s not free any more. It’s not public space; it’s official space.
“The idea that an old lady feeding the birds is in some way a crime is outrageous. For some elderly people that gives them a lot of pleasure and it doesn’t hurt anyone.
“This, essentially, is the council’s idea that pretty much anything people are doing is dubious and potentially criminal, and that’s just not the case.”
Under the proposals, the following activities would be banned in parks and open spaces: refusing to stop drinking or hand over alcohol when required to do so by a police or council officer; motorcycling off-road; using noisy radiocontrolled model vehicles and aircraft, except where allowed; camping; lighting fires or barbecues without the council’s consent; feeding pigeons; having more than four dogs in a person’s sole charge; failing to pick up dog fouling; failing to place a lead on a dog when required to do so; letting a dog be in a children’s play area; and failing to leave a park at the designated closing time or when required to do so by a police or council officer.
In addition, the following would be banned from all public places: refusing to stop drinking or hand over alcohol when required to do so by a police or council officer; spitting; feeding pigeons; failing to place a lead on a dog when the dog is on a pavement by a road; and failing to pick up dog fouling.
Jean Palmer, the council’s deputy chief executive and corporate director of residents services, said: “This is an opportunity to update the borough’s by-laws using the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) powers and I would encourage residents to let us know what they think of our proposals.
“These measures are intended to help us keep the local area safe, clean and pleasant, and council employees and police officers will use common sense when enforcing prohibited activities such as feeding pigeons and racing remote-controlled cars.”
Councils across the UK have been able to implement such measures since the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act was introduced in October last year. The act gives local authorities new powers to enforce Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), banning any activity they judge to have a “detrimental effect” on an area’s “quality of life”.
Using these new powers, Oxford City Council has passed a PSPO prohibiting people under the age of 21 from entering a particular tower block unless they live there or are visiting someone who does.