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Tyne Kittiwake Nesting Site Under Threat

14th December 2015

Tyne Kittiwake And Chick © Ian Cook

Kittiwakes only inland colony, at Newcastle upon Tyne iconic quayside, is threatened by hotel chain because they’re ‘too noisy’.

The Vermont Hotel has taken over the building that was previously the Chase Bar and is adjacent to the north abutment of the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. The Vermont has converted the Chase Bar into hotel apartments. They did this knowing that there was a large colony of Kittiwakes nesting next to the Chase Bar. Now they want to get rid of the Kittiwakes because they make a noise.

In parts of the UK the Kittiwake population is in dramatic decline and they have recently been “red-listed” and are now a top conservation priority.

Preventing Kittiwakes from nesting on a building does not solve the problem – they will move onto a building nearby creating a problem for someone else. Indeed the reason that so many nest on the Tyne Bridge is because they were moved from other buildings without any thought as to where they would go.

A Tyne Kittiwake Partnership was formed in 2012 to bring together wildlife groups, researchers and local authorities to work together to try and create a new artificial nesting site where the birds could thrive without threats from business interests. This Partnership is currently chaired by the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Kittiwakes, McNulty Site 1976 © Dan Turner

The Partnership has advised representatives of the Vermont Hotel that any attempts to displace the birds from the bridge will create problems for other businesses and residents. Over 100 pairs of Kittiwakes moving to other buildings will make the situation worse for people and the birds. Not only have the Vermont Hotel chosen to ignore this advice but they have taken matters into their own hands by putting spikes on the tower without permission to do so, even though it is a listed building belonging to Newcastle Council.


The Vermont Hotel has submitted a planning application to Newcastle Council to prevent 116 pairs of Kittiwakes from nesting on 3 sides of the bridge abutment. The Hotel will use netting, sloping ledges and electronic devices to prevent the Kittiwakes nesting in 2016. You can see their application by clicking here

The Natural History Society has objected to this planning application and has been encouraging the public to give their views to Newcastle Council.

You can read an online article about this story in the Chronicle

This also featured on a number of newsletters, journals and websites around the UK including Bird Guides, British Birds and Newcastle CVS.