A couple said they have endured 12 months of sleepless nights and deteriorating health due to dozens of noisy pigeons setting up home beneath solar panels on their roof.

Stephen Fishenden and wife Linda, 65, of Wittenham Way in Chingford, say they have lived through “hell” since the birds began to seek shelter beneath the energy-saving panels, which were fitted by a contractor working for council homes manager Ascham Homes.

Mr Fishenden first complained to Ascham Homes in March last year about the “horrendous” noise keeping them awake at night and his wife’s deteriorating health.

The 65 year-old said: "I specifically asked at the time if we would have any problems with birds and was reassured they would not be a problem.

"It has been hell and has made my wife ill. She’s asthmatic and is having to use her pump more regularly.

"We are both constantly awake and have had hundreds of sleepless nights. It is particularly horrendous in the morning."

Following further complaints, the couple said a contractor visited the property in late November and told them he would provide a quote for the scaffold tower, but never returned.

A spokeswoman for Ascham Homes has apologised for the delay and blamed the weather.

She said: "Mr Fishenden contacted Ascham Homes at the end of March last year about the issue with pigeons nesting under the solar panels at his property.

"One of our contractors visited the property shortly afterwards to inspect and recommend the appropriate bird-proofing measures.

"The costs to access the roof with scaffolding in order to carry out the works have been approved by Ascham Homes.

"We do apologise for the delayed completion of this work, it is scheduled to be carried out as a priority as soon as the weather becomes drier, and the contractors are able to access the roof safely."

Mr Fishenden described the response is a "complete fabrication", insisting the contractor did not visit the property until nine months later.