Litter louts may be fined to cut down on seagull attacks

Seagulls in Scarborough
Seagulls in Scarborough

A Scarborough councillor has said litter louts will have to be fined in a bid to try and cut down on the town’s ongoing seagull problems.

Cabinet member Bill Chatt told Monday’s Full Council meeting that despite the best efforts of the council and its contractors, litter being left on the beach was becoming a greater issue.

He added that “although I don’t want to” he could see no other option than fining people for littering, especially on the South Bay beach.

“For a long time I didn’t think that [removing eggs and nests] would do anything about the seagulls but I was wrong,” he said.

“I did not want to do it. I think at some point will have to consider fining people for littering.

“It is with a heavy heart I say that and it’s not something I want to do but we can’t go on as we are. It’s not possible to have people going around all day paid for [by the council] picking the rubbish off the beach.”

It is hoped that by cutting down on rubbish it will stop seagulls from congregating in large numbers, which leads to the attacks on people eating on the seafront. Cllr Chatt was updating councillors on the issues to tackle the problems and mess caused by nesting herring gulls.

These include removing eggs and nests, putting netting on buildings, new signs urging people not to feed the birds and bringing in birds of prey to scare away the seagulls.

He said: “So far nearly 1,000 eggs and 500 nests from buildings have been removed.

“I should say these only relate to herring gulls, not kittiwakes, which are protected under law and we cannot touch. I think you can see that we are seeing fewer chicks around the town this year. Normally you see the grey fluffy chicks wandering around at this time of year but there has been a lot less of that.” NBC, he added, are using local contractors to carry out the egg and nest removals.

So far, the work is only being carried out in Scarborough and Whitby, however next year he wants to ensure the measures are also undertaken in Filey.