£2,500 fine for feeding the ducks in Cambridgeshire

Grandmother Justine Fox of Ely was horrified to see one of the signs on a
lamppost beside the previously popular unauthorised feeding spot outside of
Peacocks tearoom.

She said: “I thought the sign might have been a prank but it seems it
isn’t. It’s absolutely ludicrous and just sums up the world we live in today
if you ask me.

“My grandchildren love coming down to the river and feeding the ducks.
We’re blessed in Ely to have so many different ducks, geese, swans, as well
as lots of moorhens and coots.

“Feeding the ducks is one of those traditional, fun activities for
families and I think the council forgets what a big hit these birds are with
our tourists.”

Frank Pledger, 53, of nearby Little Thetford, said: “Once again, the
wildlife is made to suffer.

“I can’t get my head around it. Just because someone might feed the ducks
on a bit of grass they could be slapped with a fine? It’s pathetic.

“These birds have been here for years and we should live with them in
harmony not keep going against them like the council seems to be doing.”

Dave White, the council’s waste team leader, said: “There has always been
a great debate about ducks on Ely’s riverside, with residents and visitors
increasingly commenting on the duck mess which they encounter every day.

“To help, we are encouraging people to feed ducks responsibly on the
water, in the bird’s natural environment, rather than on the pavement.

“Considerable research in other areas of the country indicates this is
the best way to address people’s concerns.

“So in the first instance we will always offer the public advice
regarding where they should be feeding the ducks ahead of issuing any form
of fine.

“The signs down by the riverside indicate the maximum penalty for
persistent and consistent failure to follow the rules and would be awarded
by a court.”

Guy Belcher, a nature conservation officer at Cambridge City Council, said: “We
don’t have any rules like this.

“We do have lots of ducks in areas like Jesus Green but we do not
consider them to be an issue or health hazard. Mind you we do not have any
Muscovy ducks.

“We encourage people to feed the ducks and birds in our open spaces and
it’s generally a fun activity for families.”

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