Plans to better manage the gull population to deter attacks and environmental mess have been recommended for approval.
Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet look set next month to approve the recruitment of a company, NBC Environment, to carry out a disruption and dispersal programme at South Bay and Whitby Harbour.
The move follows months of calls for action during which members of the public spoke of unprecedented gull mess and food-snatches, some of which left children traumatised. In a Scarborough News campaign which led to action to clear appalling levels of town centre gull grime, the area’s MPs Robert Goodwill and Kevin Hollinrake had also called on the council to act and to go beyond just recommending netting of buildings.
In the meantime, MP Oliver Colvile, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, has called for a government crackdown on gulls after witnessing an attack. He has been granted a debate in Parliament on seagulls in coastal towns and cities.
The one-year Scarborough council programme, quoted at £36,500, would involve the removal of herring gull eggs and nests from buildings and use birds of prey, such as Harris Hawks and Falcons which are trained not to kill gulls, but solely to deter them.
The removal of eggs must be completed before they hatch which takes place in May so ideally the programme must start in March.
The programme, if approved on February 14, will not target kittiwakes which have no interest in human food. They cause more of a problem with their droppings on buildings – which is best dealt with by netting.