Duck feeding £2,500 fine threat for Ely residents

The council says it will only fine repeat offenders

Feeding ducks "in the wrong area" of a Cambridgeshire city could result in a fine of up to £2,500 as a council attempts to clean up its public spaces.

East Cambridgeshire District Council erected a sign on Ely's Riverside saying ducks and geese must only be fed on the water, not on the land.

A spokesman said complaints about "duck mess" were on the increase.

He said officials would "advise" people of the rules but persistent offenders could be fined through the courts.

Councillor Richard Hobbs, chair of community and environment services at the council, said there had always been "a great debate about ducks on Ely's Riverside and the mess they make".

'Responsible feeding'

"All wildfowl leave mess behind, and as a heritage site we want to be a beautiful clean city, and this doesn't do us any good," he said.

"We spend an awful lot on cleaning up this area and this is one way around that."

However, some residents think the threat of a fine is a step too far.

Elizabeth Little said: "It's completely unnecessary, especially when you think that children have done this for generations."

Regular visitor to the city Ron Herbert was in favour.

"I'm a dog owner and I'd expect to be prosecuted if my dog fouled the pavement.

"People feeding the ducks are encouraging the same mess and should also have those penalties imposed," he said.

The council spokesman added: "What we are doing is 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."

BBC Cambridgeshire

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