Ten ways other places have tackled seagull problems

Great Yarmouth has been experiencing lots of gull problems this summer PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Beccles has seen a rise in gull numbers, causing issues for residents. - Credit: Nick Butcher

This summer, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has seen a surge in complaints relating to seagull attacks in the town’s market place.

The council says they have had a surge in complaints relating to gull attacks

The council says they have had a surge in complaints relating to gull attacks PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Traders have said the birds are out of control and it is thought that favourable weather conditions have resulted in an inflated gull population.

But it is not just the gulls that are acting forcefully, with the RSPCA investigating two attacks on gulls with walking sticks in the space of a week in Great Yarmouth.

In an attempt to quell the spike in aerial “muggings” in the market place, the council has begun trialling a ‘walk with a hawk’.

Here are 10 ways that the problem has been tackled elsewhere:

Seagull numbers have been managed in a variety of ways in other towns and cities

Seagull numbers have been managed in a variety of ways in other towns and cities PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

• In the Belgian seaside town of Blankenberge, food doped with contraceptive pills is being left out for seagulls. It is believed the birds are more aggressive when providing for chicks, so it is hoped they will be calmer without any young.

• Cardiff council offered businesses fake eggs in 2010. Again, the logic is that gulls with fewer chicks to protect are likely to act less aggressively.

• Drones have been deployed in the High Street in Worcester to help locate out of sight nests. The eggs in these nests are being replaced with fake eggs, reducing the numbers of chicks that hatch in the city.

• East Devon district council imposes on the spot £80 fines to those who habitually feed gulls as well as food outlets that do not correctly dispose of their waste.

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• In Dumfries, a free of charge egg and nest removal scheme was introduced in 2009, which was credited with driving down numbers, particularly in the town centre where there are now more than 50pc fewer gulls. However, the total number of breeding pairs of gulls is now much higher than when the removal scheme was initially carried out.

• Aberdeen FC have an automatic audible warning system, which sounds various bird distress signals and acts as a deterrent.

• In Ulverston, a businessman painted the roof of his premise red as a cheap deterrent, following a study in Arbroath that found seagulls avoid the colour.

• At Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk laser control systems have been used to fix there gull infestation, which had led to building damage caused by excrement. Abate Pest Management installed the system and managing director, Jon Blake, said such technologies were proven to effectively disperse gulls.

He said: “Laser control is a very effective way of managing bird issues. An approaching laser beam appeals to the survival instinct of birds, causing them to fly away immediately.”

• Fife Council asked people to consider gull-proofing their homes with the likes of chimney guards, roof-edge spikes and netting, to prevent nesting in urban areas.

• A fluorescent gel has been successfully trialled at The Mo Sheringham Museum, where it has prevented pigeons from nesting.

The law

All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, however, the RSPB admit government licences allow the killing of urban gulls as “a last resort” where there is a significant risk to public health or safety.