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Gloucestershire Business News

Nuisance gulls are flying the nest - NEW COMMENTS

Gloucester City Council claims it is winning the battle to rid the city of its troublesome gulls.

The urban gulls create a filthy mess, peck into rubbish bags and leave businesses with the bill to clear up after them.

Now the city council says new control methods have helped reduce gull egg laying in the city by more than 50 per cent.

Work to reduce the breeding population of nuisance gulls has so far led to a 35 per cent reduction in nests and a 52 per cent reduction in eggs in target areas of the city over the last three years.

The city council is now planning to extend the three-year programme and carry out a survey next year to make sure the right locations are being treated.

To reduce the gull population size, the city council is working to prevent nesting in identified areas by removing eggs and nests to disrupt the breeding cycle. It is thought that Gloucester is the only council in the UK to use this method, which is now showing signs of success.

Urban gulls are an increasing problem across the UK, especially when the birds have young. Increasing population levels can mean a noisy disturbance in the early hours of the morning during summer, as well as aggressive behaviour such as dive-bombing. Studies show that harmful bacteria can be carried in gull faeces.

Cllr Richard Cook, cabinet member for environment said: "These results show our efforts to tackle gull population growth are beginning to take effect, so it is important that we continue our efforts.

"Urban gulls are a national pest-control issue, and we are being proactive in Gloucester to prevent breeding humanely, whilst also looking at measures such as the new vermin proof refuse sacks being introduced in areas of Gloucester."

Cory Environmental, who operate the city's Hempsted landfill site, have contributed £10,000 towards the gull control programme.

Punchline believes that whilst it may be a little early to crow about total success, the city council is at last starting to get to grips with these feathered pests.

What do you think? Email 

Readers' comments:

Nigel Phillips: The article on gulls breeding in the city appears a little short on numbers of breeding pairs. Where is the evidence?

As a life long resident of the city I have heard the council spout reductions in gull numbers since the mid 1960's when the city achieved fame as the furthest place inland in the UK that gulls were breeding. Two thousand breeding pairs in the city as at 2004 according to the report by Gull-research. How many in 2017 after years of prevention & cost to the council taxpayer?

Huw Meredith: I've personally been in discussion with the council about this specific issue for several years. Anyone who I have spoken too agrees that the situation is getting worse rather than improving.

It's interesting to discover they have released this information in the winter months when most of the gulls are not situated in the city.

I also notice the council's stats are for their targeted areas and not necessarily for the areas needed.

They suggest that Gloucester is the only UK council to implement this method, for me and many others there is a specific reason no one else uses the method. That's because it is expensive and ineffective.

The gulls are attracted to litter on the streets, which the council are meant to clear, and areas of the gulls marked territory, where their faeces lay. Again, something the council are contracted to clean.

I previously requested Freedom of Information about their expenses with the gulls, and was horrified to discover the thousands of pounds they spend each year on the rental of a cherry picker.

To my knowledge there is not an independent report about the gulls, only what the council lets residents know. And the council keep the ugly expensive truth to themselves.

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