Fireworks banned from starling-roost Bideford bridge

Bideford Long Bridge Image copyright Google
Image caption Starlings roost underneath Bideford Long Bridge

Fireworks have been banned from the area around Long Bridge in Bideford to protect roosting starlings.

Torridge District Council has voted to prohibit displays in part of the Devon town after a petition called for the birds to be better protected.

The campaign was supported by TV wildlife experts Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan.

Mr Packham called the displays a "wanton horror show".

The Springwatch presenter said: "In most places the remarkable winter murmerations of starlings have become a great eco tourist attraction, mesmerising visitors with their beautiful displays.

"How can it be that in Bideford this declining species and the spectacle it performs are so wilfully and cruelly abused and ignored.

"This wanton horror show must end."

Image caption The Springwatch presenters have backed the campaign to save Bideford's starlings

Following the traditional fireworks display on New Year's Eve, there were reports of startled starlings being trampled on around Long Bridge in the town.

Bideford Town Council now plans to replace the display with a silent laser show.

Environmentalists had previously claimed the noise of the fireworks causes the starlings to fly into the River Torridge where they drown, or smash into buildings resulting in them being killed or injured.

They are also said to fly into the feet of revellers, resulting in some being trampled or kicked to death.

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