Solar panels on roofs need pigeon-proofing

Pigeons perching on a roof
Pigeons perching on a roof

Roofs in Crawley are being pigeon-proofed after the cunning critters started nesting beneath solar panels.

As part of the Your Energy Sussex scheme, West Sussex County Council worked with Crawley Borough Council to install the panels on 225 homes.

Now protective mesh is being added to 40 of them after reports from residents that the pigeons had found a cosy new home.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the county council by Brian Quinn (Lab, Broadfield) who expressed concern about the possibility of infestations in the loft spaces of the homes.

He said: “I would urge the council to be prepared to finance installation of wire seals around all panels which have been installed in Crawley, and do so as a matter of course, and with any future panels installed, especially at our schools and county buildings.”

Deborah Urquhart, cabinet member for environment, assured Mr Quinn that the work was in hand and ‘all new installations of solar panels on schools or wherever will be pigeon-proofed from day one’.

A council spokesman said the work would cost around £16,750, which would be met by the income generated by the project.

Your Energy Sussex fitted the panels to homes owned and maintained by Crawley Homes, giving tenants free electricity during the day.

There will be no cost for Crawley Borough Council as the panels are wholly owned and maintained by the county.

A Crawley spokesman said: “Pigeon-proofing was not considered a requirement when the specification was written, but now it seems there is an abundance of pigeons in Crawley and the requirement to retrofit pigeon proofing is now evident.”