Calls for netting to be removed after red-listed birds die

dead kittiwakes

The dead kittiwakes were captured by local wildlife photographer wildlifetog. - Credit: wildlifetog

BT has vowed to look at taking down controversial netting installed on a Lowestoft building after three birds which are "as rare as giant pandas" got stuck in them and died.

The netting, which has been installed on the BT building on Surrey Street in Lowestoft and on the Papa John's premises franchised to a landlord in Station Square, raised fears over bird safety and its potential risk to rare kittiwakes.

The RSPB told this newspaper that it is in talks with BT about the netting.


The netting can prove to be fatal for the kittiwakes. - Credit: wildlifetog

BT has confirmed it is looking into new types of netting and stressed one side of the building will now have netting removed to allow more kittiwakes to nest.

But environmentalist Chris Packham hit out at the company and highlighted the dangers the netting poses to the birds after sharing images of dead birds trapped in it.

He said: "The Kittiwakes trapped and dying here are a declining red list species - how can @PapaJohnsUK &@bt_uk not be committing a wildlife crime? And causing unnecessary suffering to animals?"


Kittiwakes are a red-listed bird species and this type of netting is harmful to them. - Credit: wildlifetog

A spokesman for BT said: “We met with the RSPB to explore what we can do to support the kittiwakes.

"We require constant access to our roof space to maintain critical networks, including the 999 network.  

"However, we can safely remove the netting from one side of the building that will provide nesting spaces for the kittiwakes.

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 “We continue to work closely with the RSPB to find the best ways to maintain our networks and protect birds.”


There are only two kittiwake colonies in the whole of Suffolk. - Credit: wildlifetog

Lowestoft has one of only two colonies of kittiwakes in Suffolk and the controversy has led to calls from the RSPB to protect the species.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB said: "Kittiwakes are as endangered as giant pandas so it’s really important that we embrace, look after and celebrate our local population in Lowestoft.

"We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demanding it fits in with our plans when we are in a nature and climate emergency."

A spokesperson for Papa John's confirmed the building on Station Square is franchised and that the company will be contacting the landlord to enquire whether they are aware of the netting's impact on the kittiwakes.

It is not yet known when or if this netting will be taken down.