A pigeon keeper has been forced to get rid of his 15 birds after the “unrelenting” noise they created was found to be louder than a passing plane.
70-year-old Alan Pidgley, a grandfather of six, was taken to court and fined nearly £1,000 following complaints from his neighbours. The row over the birds in Hordle, Hants, saw Mr Pidgley (who also keeps rescued chickens, tortoises and rabbits as well as 50 fish and a dog) served with a noise abatement order by the local authority. The complainant said the noise from the birds was so “distressing” that she and her husband have been forced to try to move from the New Forest village. Environmental health officers subsequently deemed the birds’ cooing and flapping to be a “statutory nuisance”.
Mr Pidgley found the birds in an online advertisement and converted a shed behind his two-bedroom detached bungalow for the birds, but within months his neighbour complained about the noise.
Sound recording equipment was installed in March, and Mr Milne added: “They [environmental health officers] observed the pigeons were the dominant and persistent sound, and it could be heard over ambient noise such as refuse collection and planes overhead.” Mr Pidgley insisted he took steps to reduce the sound.
Prosecuting for New Forest District Council, Barrister Duncan Milne told Southampton magistrates’ court that a complaint was first made in April last year. The council launched an investigation to measure the level of disruption and, “on the morning of Jan 7, environmental health officers heard about 300 incidents of bellowing and cooing,” said Mr Milne. “They suggested [to Mr Pidgley] reducing the number of pigeons to 10, removing eggs and relocating them. Mr Pidgley said he would move the pigeons … and that feeding the pigeons was part of his wife’s Hindu religion. But further recordings found 30 incidents of noise, described as unrelenting, which amounted to a statutory nuisance.” Magistrates ordered Mr Pidgley to pay a fine of £500 and £450 in costs after he admitted failing to comply with the order. “It will be heart breaking to see them go after two years.” Mr Pidgley said.