ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners claim cables on a proposed new footbridge over the River Foss in York will prove a “death trap” for waterfowl.

York Natural Environment Trust (YNET) is calling for a re-design of the bridge, which will lead into the Hungate redevelopment site from Navigation Road.

Trust spokesman Barry Potter spoke out after The Press revealed that the bridge had been given the provisional go-ahead by the Department for Transport, and that developers involved in the £150 million rejuvenation of the rundown Hungate site were hoping to start building the ‘stylish and attractive’ bridge in November.

The original design for the bridge was changed in 2008 because of fears for wildlife, with fewer cables than was originally planned and illumination of remaining cables to make them more visible to creatures.

But Mr Potter claimed today there had just been ‘minor design tinkering,’ leaving the same, ‘dangerous concept’ in place.

He said cable-stayed bridges had earned a world-wide, unenviable reputation for killing and maiming birds, particularly water fowl, which often flew into the cables.

“The large population of ducks, geese and swans using the narrow confines of the River Foss corridor as a flyway make such incidents likely to be common with the Hungate Bridge,” he said.

He said YNET had highlighted the bridge’s danger to wildlife at an early stage, proposing a safer, cable-free, cantilever bridge, which structural engineers had advised would do the same job.

He said Yorkshire Swan Rescue had warned recently of dangers to waterfowl from striking cables and he invited it and other conservation organisations to join with YNET in demanding a redesign of the ‘death trap bridge’ before construction started.

But Martina Collins, sales and marketing director for Hungate Urban Neighbourhood, said: “The bridge received planning permission, having gone through all of the necessary planning and consultation processes and we believe that it will be a good addition to the site and a facility that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors to Hungate.”