Controversial falcon nest to be installed on top of Bradford's Lister Mills chimney

Bird lovers fear peregrine falcons could prey on racing pigeons and local wildlife. Credit: PA

A controversial scheme for a peregrine falcon nest to be installed at the top of a historic building has got the go-ahead despite nearly 500 objections.

Pigeon fanciers were among the hundreds of people who objected to plans for the new nest to be installed at the top of the Lister Mills chimney in Manningham, Bradford.

Among the concerns raised were that the new feature could lead to local racing pigeons and song birds being targeted by the birds of prey.

But plans for the new nest have now been approved, with planners saying there was “no shortage” of feral pigeons in the area for the falcons to prey on.

The Bradford Peregrine Trail Project aims to make urban areas “more hospitable” to the birds of prey, and is backed by big names including TV wildlife expert Chris Packham, Natural England, the RSPB and the Bradford City of Culture Team.

A CCTV camera would be incorporated in the new nest on the landmark chimney to allow Bradford residents to view any nesting falcons. It is the first of several nests planned for the Bradford District.

Approving the plans, Bradford planning officers said: “The information provided states that the majority of prey of peregrines is made up of feral pigeons and collared doves.

“There are large numbers of feral pigeons within the immediate area of the host site. With no shortage of prey within the area the impact on local ‘song birds’ as raised by many objectors, is thought to be negligible.

“The built up area of Manningham is also unlikely to see a large volume of small garden birds. Studies also show that only a small proportion of racing pigeons are likely to be lost to raptors.”

Speaking about the planned Peregrine Falcon trail Dr Rachel Palfrey, Senior Adviser for the Bradford and South Pennines Nature Recovery Project said: “Natural England are delighted to be working with the Bradford Peregrines group, Bradford Urban Wildlife Group and Bradford City of Culture Team to install nesting boxes for Peregrine Falcons in the city.

“The Bradford Peregrine Trail will help bring nature into the heart of Bradford, allowing people to explore and connect with the historical and natural heritage of the city."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.