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Neighbour Dispute

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paddyk | 03:02 Fri 13th May 2022 | Law
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Hi. Hope one of our legal eagles on here can help us with the following issue:- We have always put food out in our back garden as we like to watch all the different varieties of wild birds that visit. As happens in many places we get a lot of feral pigeons,( which we personally don't mind as we like to look after all wildlife). We have lived here for 23 years but new neighbours moved in 12 months ago and keep asking us to stop feeding the birds as the pigeons mess on their car. I should explain that the former neighbours created an access and parking space at the bottom of their garden around 18 years ago - we have a large tree that overhangs this space which is where the problem arises. (The tree has a preservation order on it by the way). My view is that the original neighbour should have foreseen the above difficulties before turning their garden into parking - our tree and garden have been there for at least 70 years. (Don't feel sorry for them as they also have a large garage at the back and also parking at the front in their driveway - but insist on parking under the tree). We've read up on the laws relating to this but they seem to contradict each other and seem very much open to interpretation - so we need to establish where we stand on this because I don't think they have a right to stop us feeding the birds. We've also read the laws about creating a nuisance but again it seems to depend on how they could be applied to each individual situation.

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The only thing your neighbours can do is to ask your local authority to issue a “Community Protection Notice” (CPN). The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides for these. However, the LA is unlikely to accede to their request. As the name suggests, the legislation is designed mainly to address anti-social behaviour and whilst this is a...
11:07 Fri 13th May 2022
Compromise. Hang smaller feeders for finches, sparrows, tits, etc. Pigeons won’t have access.
if the tree has a preservation order on it then there is little you can do..make them aware of that...and if you choose to feed birds on your private land then it is tough.. they can park elsewhere ..birds will always poo from above regardless! snowflakes that need to get a grip..
It's unpleasant to fall out with your neighbour over such a small matter. Trees are the natural habitat of birds, regardless of whether you feed them or not (but you should continue to do so) & it should be politely pointed out that as they have alternative parking places it would make more sense if they were to not park their car there, because even if you were to desist from putting out bird-food, there will still be birds in the tree, & whether they like it or not, - birds will always poop!
There's a tree outside my flat & lots of bird poo on the path beneath it & we don't feed the birds. Tell them you don't think stopping feeding will cure the problem & they should park elsewhere.

(they could probably cut back the overhanging branches as long as they don't damage the tree irreparably)
davebro //There's a tree outside my flat & lots of bird poo on the path beneath it & we don't feed the birds.//

Exactly! An interesting side-issue is, that an accumulation of bird poo in one spot on the ground is a give-away that there is a nest above to predatory birds like magpies.
I live alongside a river & some birds will build their nests on overhanging branches so the the dropped poo is carried away, smart eh?
Canyour neighbour add a roof and turn their parking space into a car port ?
I agree with above. Regardless of whether you feed the birdies or not, wherever there is a tree, there will be bird poo.
Sturges v Bridgman 1879.

Having moved to a nuisance was not considered a defence.
You think you've got a problem;-) I had to stop feeding the birds because rats were running up the metal pole to get at the food. I do just have a window feeder filled with sunflower hearts now and that's OK. Couldn't imagine life without feeding the birdies. You make sure you carry on feeding. xx
redhellen, that's a pretty disgusting commercial site from a company who specialize in the killing of birds.
Apologies - report it then if its that bad
Although I fail to see how its any different to putting up a link specialising in killing rats?
Having given more thought, you could with humour use the Reductio ad absurdum mode of argumentation by saying to your neighbour, "If I stop feeding the birds, there will possibly be less birds in the tree, but non the less, there will still be birds pooping from up there onto your car; would you be satisfied with a reduction of say, 50% ? "
The only thing your neighbours can do is to ask your local authority to issue a “Community Protection Notice” (CPN). The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides for these. However, the LA is unlikely to accede to their request. As the name suggests, the legislation is designed mainly to address anti-social behaviour and whilst this is a broad term, it would be hard to regard feeding birds in your own garden as “anti-social.” Regarding the issue of notices, the legislation says this:

1)An authorised person may issue a community protection notice to an individual aged 16 or over, or a body, if satisfied on reasonable grounds that—
(a)the conduct of the individual or body is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality, and
(b)the conduct is unreasonable.

It will be a stretch for your neighbours to show, to the LA’s satisfaction, that your feeding the birds and them consequently messing on their car is “…having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality.” It would also be difficult to show that your conduct is unreasonable. It is not unreasonable to put food out for birds in your garden. More than that, it would be difficult to show that the birds are using the tree as their preferred place to defecate simply because you put food out for them. I think my reaction to such a request would be to say that if you park your car under a tree, you should be prepared for birds' mess to fall on it.

In the unlikely event your LA does grant a CPN you can appeal to the Magistrates’ Court. You can do this on the following grounds:

1.That the conduct specified in the community protection notice—
(a)did not take place,
(b)has not had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality,
(c)has not been of a persistent or continuing nature,
(d)is not unreasonable, or
(e)is conduct that the person cannot reasonably be expected to control or affect.

I would think, from what you have described, that any reasonable Bench would find that (b) and (d) apply.

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