Action on gull problem

ANGUS Council say that every effort is being made to try and manage the problems caused by seagulls which blight Arbroath and other parts of the county.

The issues caused by the coastal birds reached an all time high during the summer and councillors asked the local authority to outline the position on what could be done to control the gull population.

The local authority has already spent just over £15,000 during the last year on the gull problem and have £18,000 set aside for next year.

And yesterday (Thursday) at a full meeting of Angus Council, chief executive Richard Stiff outlined several options available to the council to try and tackle the problem.

They include extending the free egg and nest removal service to cover non-domestic properties in residential areas and extending the period of the flying of hawks to scare off the gulls.

A pilot scheme of using gull proof waste bags and a crack down on littering have also been suggested.

Other solutions are updating planning guidance advising developers to build more angular roofs in buildings, which could deter the gulls.

However, the report stated that a cull of seagulls would only be considered if absolute necessary once all other options had been exhausted.

Despite the council estimate of 5,000 breeding pairs of seagulls in Angus, it has been reported that the worldwide population is in decline.

And Mr Stiff says this is why the authority needs to adopt an appropriate stance to the problem.

He said: “The fact that worldwide the gull population is in overall decline requires a response which seeks to balance appropriate intervention and enforcement whilst securing a harmony with the gull population.

“Angus Council can point to a proportionate and well resourced set of actions to addressing public concerns raised by this issue, whilst the report sets out measures for improvement.

“Members are asked to note that gulls are a factor of coastal life and that every effort is being made to properly manage the situation.”

The most common complaints about the birds are the noise they make and the mess caused by their droppings.

But figures collected by the council show the problem with the gulls has not got significantly worsened since 2008.

The local authority also state that the birds do not pose a public health risk but they will constantly review guidelines.

Mr Stiff added: “Other than issues from swooping and aggressive behaviour, occasional insect infestations from nesting gulls, and issues arising from the blocking of flues by nests, there are no direct implications for public health from seagulls.

“In seeking to strike a balance between tackling the complaints raised and not persecuting the gull population the report proposes a middle ground which can be kept under review.”