A NEW eco-friendly duck feeder has been put in place in a Southend park to tackle the “unsustainable and environmentally damaging consequences of bread feeding”. 

The Feed Ducks initiative has installed the bird feeder in Southchurch Park - and it has already won praise from residents. 

The machine is solar powered, and provides “quality, nutritious feed for ducks and birds” within the park.

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It is made from 100 per cent recycled plastics equivalent to 20,000 plastic bottles and encourages visitors to avoid feeding bread to ducks, which can cause bloating and nutritional issues. 

In addition, bread left around the park could be attractive to rats.

Matthew Knight, founder of the Feed Ducks Initiative, said: “We are delighted to bring our feeder to Southend, and want to thank Southend City Council for bringing our initiative into the community.

“Our sole aim is to make duck feeding in public spaces more sustainable by reducing the amount of bread and incorrect feed being fed by the public to ducks in parks.

“Residents in Southend can now feed their ducks and swans in a sustainable way, with health feed, and can join our fight to end the unsustainable and environmentally damaging consequences of bread feeding.

“We hope the community will get great enjoyment from our feeder and continue to feed their ducks and swans at Southchurch Park.

The machine works by dispensing food directly to the buyer’s hand.

It costs just a £1 with 10 per cent of all proceeds going to local causes.

Southend Labour councillor Matt Dent loved the new initiative and hopes the community will make good use of it.

He said: “It absolutely quacking.

“It is brilliant, people want to feed ducks and wildlife in Southend, which is great, but there is always issues with making sure people are feeding them the right things, and not feeding them something that is going to do them harm.

“So, having something like this, make it all the more easier for people to go there, have a great day, while feeding the ducks and swans in a safe way.

“Ten per cent also goes to local causes which is a great.

“It is just a fantastic addition to the park, and I hope people make good use of it over the summer and beyond.”