Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Whose Bridge?

An initial glance through the very full Autumn 2009 Lek from Durham Bird Club today and I was enjoying Mark Newsome's article detailing the 'History of Breeding Kittiwakes in Durham' which provides a good insight into how the species has spread in recent times as well as the peaks and troughs of breeding numbers. My attention was caught however by the inclusion of a section on the 'Tyne Bridge Gateshead-Newcastle' in which Mark refers to the 'south side of the bridge' and produces some figures for breeding pairs.
Obviously this is either a blatant attempt by Newsome et al to make some claim over an extra 17% of the bridge or simply an error. Whilst the bridge does indeed span the Tyne and join the two notional birding areas of 'Durham' and 'Northumberland' the bridge itself has never been split in equal proportions. Historically the bridge across the Tyne has only ever been one third funded by those on the south side, even as far back as 1772 when the previous bridge was built the Bishop of Durham contributed a maximum of one third of the building costs. In addition at that time an act was passed that stated "to enable the Lord Bishop of Durham, and his successors, to raise a competent sum of money, to be applied for the repairing, improving, or rebuilding such part of Tyne Bridge as belongs to the see of Durham."

I'm sure now that it has been pointed out Mark will be publishing a full retraction and apology removing any claim to more than one third of the bridge and it's breeding Kittiwakes.

1 comment:

Codders said...

Looking at the maintenance expenditure for the Tyne Bridge for the last few years, Newcastle pays 68% and Gateshead 32% which I presume reflects ownership so even less breeding Kittiwakes in Durham. Big aaaahhhhhh for the Durham lads

John