Liverpool Cathedral takes netting down and apologises after peregrine falcon row

The controversial netting was originerected to protect the Grade I listed building from guano - bird and bat excrement.

Liverpool Cathedral has decided to remove controversial netting from the front entrance of the building amid concerns it may impact on a pair of peregrine falcons which have been nesting at the site for years.

The cathedral’s architecture has been affected from damage by a build-up of guano - bird and bat excrement - and the netting was put up to protect the Grade I listed building.

However, the move was criticised by local residents and the RSPB amid concerns about the rare peregrine falcons that have made the iconic building their home.

The cathedral has now removed the netting and released a statement apologising for any anxiety caused.

A peregrine falcon spreads its wings. Image: Milan - stock.adobe.com

Liverpool Cathedral will continue to work with experts from the Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK to find a balance between protecting the building and providing a “welcoming environment and home for our pair of falcons”.

A spokesperson for Liverpool Cathedral said: “We are sorry for the anxiety that the netting caused. Having listened to the depth of feeling and the strength of the scientific advice and realise that this was not an appropriate course of action.

“We are determined to work alongside those who can help us with a plan to manage our complicated needs.

“We believe we have a way forward that will see the cathedral community and our many visitors being able to enjoy the presence of our peregrine falcons over the coming months and years.”

Andy Lester, Head of Conservation for A Rocha UK said: “We are pleased to hear the netting has been taken down at the Cathedral and very much look forwards to working with the team over the next months. 

“It is amazing that peregrine have chosen to breed at Liverpool Cathedral and we see this as an incredible opportunity to bring together nature, community and congregation.”

The numbers of peregrine falcons in the UK declined in the 1960s due to pesticides and human intervention.

The RSPB said although numbers have improved since then they are still illegally killed and also have eggs and chicks taken for collections and falconry.

Peregrines are a Schedule 1 listed species of The Wildlife and Countryside Act.