Live updates

Call for urgent action over seabird pollution

A seabird being cleaned after getting covered in the pollutant PIB earlier this year Credit: ITV News West Country

The RSPB says urgent action is needed to prevent a repeat of the pollution that harmed thousands of seabirds in our region earlier this year.

It welcomes the news that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is to ask the governing body, the International Maritime Organization, to reclassify the substance, PIB, making it illegal to dump it at sea.

But, if it does so, it will take time for it to become international law and the charity says something needs to be done now.

One of the birds after being treated for the pollutant Credit: ITV News West Country
West Country (W)

Dr Brian May praises RSPCA staff in Taunton

Dr Brian May on his trip to West Hatch Credit: ITV News West Country

Queen guitarist Brian May has praised the team cleaning sea birds found covered in a sticky sustance on beaches in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

He's been visiting the RSPCA's West Hatch Centre near Taunton. Dr May is the organisation's vice president. He also joined a rally protesting against the forthcoming badger cull.

Advertisement

West Country (W)

RSPCA calls for investigation into pollution

The RSPCA are calling for an investigation after pollution harmed hundreds of seabirds for the second time in two months. More than 170 birds, most of them guillemots, were treated at the charity's West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton after they were washed up covered in a sticky substance.

They were found as far west as Mevagissey and round to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay. Many more birds were found dead on the beaches. Experts from Plymouth University have confirmed the chemical as polyisobutene (PIB), the same substance affecting birds in February.

It was bad enough seeing so many birds come to us in such a terrible state last time but for it to happen again and so soon is devastating.

It is a huge concern to learn that it is the same substance coating these birds. It makes you wonder whether it could keep on happening unless a serious effort is made to look into where these spills are coming from and how they can be stopped.

A proper investigation is needed to stop this happening again and again, or else our wildlife are likely to go on suffering and dying.

– Peter Venn, Manager, RSPCA West Hatch

Anyone who finds a bird covered in the chemical should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and should not try to touch the birds or catch them.

Advertisement

Somerset centre treating oiled birds

Nearly 100 seabirds, caught up in the latest pollution incident hitting the South West coastline, have been collected.

The majority are guillemots but there are also a couple of razorbills.

Many have been taken to the RSPCA's West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton where staff are working flat out.

"It's not just immature birds that have been caught in this sticky, fatty substance.

"We have a mix of white-headed juveniles and black-headed mature birds. They are in a much poorer condition than the ones we treated in the first pollution incident."

– Peter Venn, West Hatch manager

Advertisement

Today's top stories