Council to issue fines for feeding gulls in bid to stamp out 'great conflict'
PUBLISHED: 15:57 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 21 November 2019
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.
The number of gull-related complaints from Great Yarmouth residents increased significantly, in the past year, rising from 33 in 2018 to 80 so far in 2019.
And at a meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's (GYBC) environment committee, held on Wednesday, November 20, councillors agreed to review the town's gull policy and look at ways to minimise the birds' impact.
A report on the issue put before councillors said the gulls were "living ever closer" to residents which had created "great conflict between them and the local community".
Plans to resolve the issue, which were approved by councillors at the meeting, are set to include:
- Reducing nesting on large flat roofs in the town centre;
- Gull-proofing market buildings including ledges and signs;
- Continuing the 'feed the bins, not the birds' campaign;
- Trialling pedal bins in the town centre to reduce food access;
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- And using fines to discourage persistent and repeat offenders from feeding the birds.
The report stated: "The council will look to the use of fixed penalty notices (FPN) or community protection warning notices (CPW) for those who are littering or feeding birds in the Market Place and across the borough.
"This approach will only be used should information and encouragement not work with the persons involved."
Speaking after the meeting, environment committee chairman Penny Carpenter said: "The fixed penalty notices have always been available. It's nothing new.
"It would really be the very last resort - usually people take advice.
"Like all the laws of the land, it's there should you require it.
"The main thrust of the gull policy is to stop the food cycle."
She added: "We have had a very successful campaign which we started in May this year.
"That has been successful and when you look at the complaints - we've had 80 complaints from January to September and 80pc were about people complaining about their neighbours, not related directly to the market.
"We hope through education and talking to people they will take on board what we're saying."
The council has previously tried flying a hawk around the market to combat the gull problem.