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People who feed gulls could face fines

PUBLISHED: 13:50 15 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:55 15 November 2019

People in Great Yarmouth who feed seagulls could face fines. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

People in Great Yarmouth who feed seagulls could face fines. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

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People who feed gulls could be fined under a set of new proposals for dealing with complaints about the birds in a coastal town.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's environment committee will discuss options for minimising the impact of gulls on residents and visitors in the town and suburbs at a meeting on Wednesday (November 20).

A report to the committee states over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of gull-related complaints to the council.

Figures show complaints more than doubled over twelve months, with 33 reports made in 2018 while this year the figure has risen to 80.

The summer months saw the most complaints; there were 15 in May, 25 in June and 18 in July.

A spike in complaints about the feeding of gulls in a seaside town has seen councillors launch a clampdown and warn persistent offenders could face being fined. Photo: Åsa Berndtsson/FlickrA spike in complaints about the feeding of gulls in a seaside town has seen councillors launch a clampdown and warn persistent offenders could face being fined. Photo: Åsa Berndtsson/Flickr

Just over 80pc of the complaints were from people informing the council of their neighbour feeding the gulls and attracting them to residential areas, where the birds defecate on cars and laundry and their squawking keeps residents in some parts of the borough awake at night.

In May, responding to a spike in complaints about the deliberate feeding, the council launched an awareness campaign - 'Are you feeding the gull problem?'.

The authority has also tried flying a hawk around the Market Place as a way of reducing gull numbers and in September the borough councillor Malcolm Bird suggested using a drone to combat the problem.

At next week's meeting some additional mitigatory measures will be aired including working with businesses in the town centre to reduce nesting on a large flat roof and a trial of foot-operated bins to reduce access to food.

The council will also look into the use of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) and Community Protection Warning Notices (CPW) for people feeding gulls in the market place and across the borough.

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This approach would only be used if information and encouragement has not worked.

A number of incidents were reported during the summer including a 77-year-old man attacked three times by the same gull.

Gulls choose to nest and breed in areas with ready access to food, so reducing access to food and responsibly disposing waste are the most effective and sustainable ways to cut gull numbers.

In April a person on a mobility scooter drove into a flock of gulls, injuring one of the birds which later had to be killed.

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