Newcastle’s kittiwakes threatened by planning application

These bridge-nesting birds are a popular local attraction, but are under threat from hotel chain plans.

Kittiwakes are one of Britain’s fastest-declining seabirds. © jeromewhittingham/iStock
Kittiwakes are one of Britain’s fastest-declining seabirds. © jeromewhittingham/iStock

Conservationists say that Britain’s only urban colony of kittiwakes is threatened by a hotel chain’s plans to stop them from nesting on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.

Advertisement

There have been more than 900 objections to a planning application submitted by Gainford Hotels to install netting and an electric-shock system on one of the bridge’s towers.

Gainford said this would create “a safer, more hygienic area” under the tower for pedestrians. An estimated 100 kittiwake pairs use the bridge for nesting. It is one of the UK’s fastest-declining seabirds – numbers have dropped by over 60 per cent during the past 30 years. 

Advertisement

Gainford Hotels has said it is keen to find a solution that works for all interested parties. Local bird experts said preventing the kittiwakes from nesting on the bridge will only force them to move elsewhere.