PIGEONS are making life difficult for people who say the droppings they leave underneath a railway bridge are a safety risk and so dirty they make worshippers reluctant to go to a nearby mosque.

Now councillors and residents in Maindee, Newport, are calling on Network Rail to install netting to stop the birds nesting.

Many worshippers at the Shahporan Bangladeshi Jam’e Mosque just off Chepstow Road have to walk underneath the bridge to get to prayers.

In Islam, there is a requirement that people are clean before they come into the mosque or begin to pray. But some feel the dirty bridge makes this difficult, while others say the pigeon prevalence is dangerous, as people have slipped over on the droppings.

Abbas Meah, 75, who has lived in Maindee since 1962, said the pigeons were causing problems for people going to mosque.

“People must walk through pigeon mess on both sides of the bridge,” he said. “I have spoken to our local MP. If they just put a net up that would help; that’s all we’re asking for. People can’t pray like this.”

Majid Rahman, councillor for Victoria ward, said: “The walls are grubby with pigeon mess. It’s a health and safety issue. Someone badly hurt their hand as a result of droppings on a metal grate. We’re looking to have a meeting with Network Rail.”

Fellow councillor Christine Jenkins said: “They clean it but as soon as they do, the mess is there again. It’s time Network Rail took responsibility for their bridge. It’s dangerous – someone is going to slip on it.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Network Rail has a responsibility to taxpayers to ensure that it spends its limited public funds wisely.

“When looking at the problem and nuisance we know pigeons cause, we look at the scale of the problem and undertake a risk assessment to make an informed judgement. We cannot justify the expense of netting as we don’t believe there is a statutory nuisance.”