Tyne Bridge's resident kittiwakes could live in 'hotels' during £32m repair job

The Tyne Bridge is set to undergo a £32m repair job which is expected to be completed by the landmark's centenary in 2028. Credit: NCJ Media

'Kittiwake hotels’ could house the Tyne Bridge's famous resident birds during a multimillion pound repair job of the North East landmark.

A planning application for the temporary accommodation has been submitted to Gateshead Council by Newcastle City Council.

The so-called hotels would shelter the birds nesting on the bridge for the duration of the £32m maintenance works.

It is hoped the works will be completed by the bridge’s centenary in 2028.

According to planning documents submitted to the council, an assessment of the number of nests which will be inaccessible because of the planned major maintenance works has been made and the ‘mitigation’ measures will offer space for twice as many nests.

The location of the new kittiwake-friendly scaffold towers for the birds is set for the top of two pylons on the Gateshead Abutment section of the bridge.

Kittiwakes are seabirds which have been nesting on the Tyne Bridge for more than 60 years. Credit: PA

According to Newcastle Council’s planning application, once work is complete, the ‘Kittiwake hotels’ will be removed, and the kittiwakes can return to their old settlements.

The council will need to consider the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 when deciding the application.

The act forbids the reckless or intentional killing, injuring and taking of any wild bird, as well as the destruction or obstruction of nests.

An ecological survey conducted in 2022 found there were around 900 active kittiwake nests on the Tyne Bridge alone. The Baltic came a distant second with around 300 recorded nests.

Kittiwakes were first recorded breeding in North Shields in 1949. A colony eventually made its way to the Tyne Bridge in 1962 where they have remained ever since.

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