Dealing with avian control measures at Colt International, Havant

The former Colt International site located in Havant, Portsmouth, was acquired by Homes England in early 2017. Shortly thereafter CampbellReith undertook an initial appraisal of the 3 hectare site and took on the role of principal designer. CampbellReith has since managed the safe demolition of the existing multi-storey concrete frame and large steel portal frame to open the site up for development as well assisting with the development of an outline masterplan for up to 100 homes and 2860sqm of employment floor space.

As part of the first phase, the material from the multi-storey concrete frame was crushed, graded and stockpiled on site. Being just over 4km from Hayling Island and just under 10km from The Solent, seagulls are ever present and had taken to sitting on top of the stockpiles. With the nesting season fast approaching, there was concern that the gulls may choose to settle or even nest on the stockpiles, putting themselves at risk and potentially delaying delivery of the site.

A specialist consultant was appointed to implement avian control measures. This involved flying falcons at the site daily with visits commencing at dawn with the occasional afternoon visit. The intention is to stop the gulls settling into a routine and habituating on the site. Each visit employs two or three experienced falcons to clear all birds from the area. The falcons are bred in captivity and trained as deterrent falcons rather than active hunting birds.

Working on construction can be extremely varied as we could experience in one of our recent visits to the site. CampbellReith visited the site in March at the crack of dawn with the specialist consultant and two falcons. On arrival there were circa 10-15 gulls comfortably sat on the stock piles. Once the falcons were released, they proved very effective with the gulls promptly dispersing and continually avoiding the site throughout the visit.

An outline planning consent was granted in January 2019 and CampbellReith is now in the process of helping Homes England secure a development partner for the site. For more information on the Homes England multidisciplinary framework, see here.

Images: stockpiled materials on site and consultant Rachel Cossins getting acquainted with one of the falcons