Hampden Park, in Glasgow, was the main the focus for the build up to the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The event was a fantastic success for Scotland but many did not see the hard work behind the scenes to ensure the event ran without a hitch. The NBC Scotland team was proud to play its small part leading up to and during the Games themselves.
NBC Scotland has been providing bird and pest control services to Hampden Park for over 5 years. Initially the Scotland team was appointed to tackle the ongoing and historic problem of pigeons nesting and feeding within the stadium. The pigeon fouling and nesting debris created a mess on seating and stairways which as well as unsightly was unhygienic.
Having successfully implemented a pigeon control programme using falconry response and reducing the associated risks, the facilities management team at Hampden Park asked NBC to manage all aspects of the routine pest control throughout the stadium. In addition the Scotland team have also provided ad-hoc services for wildlife control to deal with urban fox issues.
The Commonwealth Games challenge
Twelve months before the Commonwealth Games were due to start the organising committee along with their catering partners Sodexo UK took over the stadium and its catering facilities.
The famous Hampden pitch was stripped away, the ground raised by 1.9 metres and a new track and field area created to host the event. These changes however meant pigeons began to take advantage of the disruption during construction to re-inhabit the stadium.
In consultation with games organisers and stadium staff, NBC highlighted the increased pigeon activity specifically detailing the resultant contamination being observed on seating, stairways, the newly laid athletics field and the running track. Off the field construction such as big screens, lighting gantries and speakers were also affected as it provided new roosting points for the pigeons.
With the Games imminent the situation could not be tolerated, so the main challenge during the renovation was to tackle the increased pigeon activity without disturbing the construction works.
The problem also need to be addressed quickly and efficiently to remove the risks to the stadium contractors, staff, future users and to prevent increased maintenance costs for the stadium facilities management team.
Having already worked at the site for five years and using this experience it was determined the most effective solution for this scenario (for success and budget) was to increase the frequency of the bird control visits.
Our bird control teams are the UK’s leading experts in bird control and bird behaviour and have used falconry response – (flying of hawks or falcons to deter nuisance birds) for over 20 years. Our teams and their birds of prey are highly trained to work and be effective in any urban environment, they have extensive experience working at many stadium venues across the UK.
At Hampden Park the extended pigeon scaring programme was undertaken out of hours commencing at 4am before the stadium contractors, staff and visitors arrive on site. Working out of hours prevented the ongoing renovation work at the stadium being affected and reduced the health and safety risk involved in working at a small busy construction site. The out of hours programme was a success with the team deterring several hundred pigeons from the site and leading up to the Commonwealth Games, a pigeon control programme was maintained to prevent the pigeon population returning.
As well as the ongoing pigeon control leading up to the Games, the Scotland team recommended a strategy to increase the number of routine visits for general pest control. With the increased activity on site before the Games and the expected footfall, the risk of increased pest problems was very real. As part of the programme the team would also provide emergency out of hours call outs to ensure day to day activities and catering could run unimpeded and safely.
The NBC Scotland Team are proud to have contributed to the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and look forward to continuing to provide the exemplary service to ensure the success of future events at Hampden Park.