MP backs call to tackle the seagull menace

Horrified at state of some of Scarborough's streets caused by seagulls.
Horrified at state of some of Scarborough's streets caused by seagulls.

Scarborough’s MP has backed calls for action as the seagull problem “appears to be getting worse”.

Robert Goodwill has backed The Scarborough News’s campaign to control the population of seabirds for health, safety and environmental reasons.

Having written to MP Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Goodwill has outlined the “real problems both with the seagull mess around the buildings and elsewhere and also the attacks that are increasingly frequent on people on the seafront.”

Mr Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said: “No doubt these attacks are encouraged by people who insist on feeding the gulls, but really this is becoming a serious problem and I know that there are many who wish to protect certain species but as we have seen in the case of badgers, when a species is protected often the numbers can increase disproportionately and they can become a menace.

“I understand there are some measures that can be used to control gulls in certain circumstances and I wonder if you could outline to me the most recent information you have as to what Scarborough Borough Council can do to try and reduce the gull numbers in a humane way.”

Mr Goodwill has received letters from concerned residents.

“Everyone, of course, understands that the seaside and seagulls are synonymous but really we do now need to look at how we can control the numbers of gulls. “In the old days, many of the seagulls would live on cliffs and indeed, with the big fishing fleets we had, many of them would spend a lot of time feeding at sea, but now they do seem to be predating upon all sorts of areas in town including waste bins which are ripped open and people eating who are attacked.”

The call for action has received backing from the public and residents coming forward with ideas of what can be done.

Resident Jean Beadle said: “With the closure of the landfill sites a lot of these birds are starving.

“I think lots of them will starve over the winter, maybe this will be an answer to the problem, but so cruel. Couldn’t something be done to help them feed away from the town and so help the people who are plagued by them?”

Another resident posted on Facebook saying: “Feeding gulls makes them aggressive and lazy, and will swoop to collect food for those eating outside. Politely explaining to people that they should not feed the gulls make them aggressive.”

The petition set up by The Scarborough News has reached more than 150 signatures.

If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will respond to the petition.

Any petition which reaches 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in parliament.

Sign the petition online at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165889