Gulls, like all other birds, are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. While the Act does allow for the destruction of birds under certain circumstances, this action is only permissible where it can be demonstrated that the birds pose a risk to public safety or public health, and only when all other non-lethal methods of control have been investigated and discounted. It is readily accepted that these birds can often be a routine cause for considerable distress and annoyance, but great care must be exercised and each case is dealt with on its own merits.
- EHTS Survey Results (City Centre only) (164KB MS Word doc)
- British Trust for Ornithology – Comprehensive Survey
Pest Control Officers have a long established history in dealing with this type of problem and are currently involved with many sites in the city where gulls are an issue. This type of work is normally carried out early morning and late evening with the utmost discretion as bird control is a very emotive subject.
From a gulls point of view the city environment offers several advantages. There is no natural predator, little disturbance, and plenty of roofs on which to nest. In addition, ambient temperature in town can be 3 - 4 degrees centigrade higher than the surrounding countryside, enabling earlier breeding. Street lighting also allows the gulls to feed at night as well as during the day, though they can travel up to 25 kilometres in search of food if required.
The Council are proactive in improving the waste disposal facilities in and around the city centre. Bins have been provided in many areas where previously waste bags were placed on the footpaths and became magnets for gulls. Routine monitoring of this situation ensures that problem areas are swiftly identified to enable further action to be taken.
The Council is very much aware of the problem and we continually pursue tried and tested as well as innovative solutions to the problems that arise from these birds. In all of this however, we must be mindful of, and compliant with, current legislation and best practice guidance and whatever action we take must be proportionate, using humane methods and recognising health and safety implications for both staff and public.
One solution in dealing with these birds is to proof your own property against them. Though this is a cost borne by the house owner themselves, it need not be prohibitive as there may only be a few points that the birds can readily land on. In contrast however, it is recognised that not all properties lend themselves to being proofed.
Pest Control officers are also actively involved in removing eggs and nests throughout the breeding season, which is approximately April to July. This action greatly reduces the incidences of aggressive behaviour as well as the consequence of disrupting and reducing the breeding pattern. As with bird proofing, egg/nest removal is a chargeable service.
For further information or advice, details on charges, and for arranging treatment. please contact the Pest Control Section.
Tel: 01382 436288