Monday, 22 August 2011

Bird-Box Speed Camera: Council's Dilemma!

A Somerset man has put his foot down on speeding motorists by erecting this bird-box outside his home near the village of Williton.

Ian Magee was fed up with motorists breaking the 30mph speed limit on the main road. After a typically feeble response to his protests from West Somerset Council, he decided to take direct action. He created a bird-box and painted it the trademark yellow of a roadside speed trap. Nesting holes are where the camera's lens should be. The box even has its own CCTV camera alongside, to stop vandals damaging it. Mr Magee says the device has been effective in slowing traffic. “It’s convinced a lot of people. Even off-duty ambulances and police cars slow down when they see it.”

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the bird box has caused a split between local authorities. A representative of Avon and Somerset police said: “We’ve checked it out, however it’s on private land and as far as we're concerned it's not breaking any rules.”

But the same Council which was unhelpful about speeding motorists is more diligent over planning regulations; Mr Magee could be ordered to remove his bird-box. A Council spokesperson said: “This is something we are currently looking into, as we feel this kind of object requires planning permission, which it doesn't have. We also believe the box should be taken down as it's providing unnecessary clutter to the area. It's also causing rather a lot of interest, which isn't necessary, and this is something we want to stop.” Public money well-spent on such a debate? You decide.

But in a hammer-blow to the idiotic Council’s wishes, Mr Magee has reported that Pipistrelle bats have started nesting in his box. This could be a problem for anyone who wants it removed, as the bat’s a protected species.

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