Some readers of the Reporter may have noticed that Dumbarton East railway station has very recently had anti-bird netting installed – or, more accurately, re-installed – under the bridge.

The unhygienic mess the pigeons have been making under the Dumbarton East station bridge has brought many comments and complaints to West Dunbartonshire Council, and to Dumbarton East and Central Community Council, for some years now, and the problem has been on the agenda for far too many community council meetings.

Local councillors have been raising the issue regularly with Network Rail, which is responsible for the bridge, and the public’s feelings on this matter have been communicated to the company again and again.

Meanwhile, the council’s employees have been doing their best to cope with the problem by regularly cleaning the pavements below the bridge.

So it was great news for us to hear in August, that the council had finally obtained agreement from Network Rail to install bird prevention measures on the NR structure.

The local authority then promptly hired Pest Solutions Environmental Services, and a method statement was signed off by Network Rail to remove the old damaged netting, and dead birds, to have new netting and spikes installed, and to clean up the area.

This initial work was carried out earlier in September, and the results are currently being monitored.

To date, the number of birds getting through the netting has been limited to just one or two. But as with all new installations, there is a period during which many birds are only displaced to nearby roosts, and, their instincts drive them to find other routes past the netting.

This appears to be the case here, and Pest Solutions have now asked Network Rail for trackside access to further investigate where there may be gaps from above, and if so, to block them.

However, in the interim, Iain Marks, the operations manager of Pest Solutions, advised me that that his team was due to carry out an ‘under bridge’ assessment follow-up visit on Monday, as this issue of the Reporter went to press, to see where birds are still able to find roosts under the bridge.

The company will take appropriate deterrent measures, and then they will follow up on that again until the problem is resolved.

In particular Pest Solutions will focus on the station entrance – and also the entrance to the new food outlet that has opened under the bridge in recent months.

This new business is a very welcome addition to Dumbarton East, and we wish owner Graeme Shearer every success during such a challenging time with fewer people using trains.

Graeme told me: “There is rarely a day goes by that a customer doesn’t raise the issue of the pigeons with me. It remains a worry that the state of the bridge can put people off.”

Users of Dumbarton East station may also have noticed that there is a serious drainage problem at the foot of the stairs between the station platform and the street.

This issue has been reported to Network Rail in writing, and also via their on-platform customer feedback boxes.

Meanwhile, please make sure you take care when using the stairs.