Gulls could be sent to Castle Headland

Seagull menace on the seafront.Picture Richard Ponter 133113e
Seagull menace on the seafront.Picture Richard Ponter 133113e

Gulls could be moved to the Castle Headland in a bid to try and reduce the issue with sea bird terrorising Scarborough.

Scarborough Council’s environment and scrutiny committee today voted in favour of exploring the option for the town’s kittiwakes.

Committee members asked its officers to examine the feasibility of displacing Scarborough’s urban nesting kittiwakes back to Castle Headland in conjunction with Natural England and the RSPB.

This would be done by placing fine netting and other deterrents on the buildings in the town where they are nesting designed to stop them being able to land.

The report prepared for councillors said a similar scheme on the River Tyne prevented continued nesting by kittiwakes on a building at North Shields.

Other options being explored include new ‘gull-proof’ bags which rubbish bags are put in. They are designed to stop gulls being able to get in and a trial is currently underway in Whitby.

Steve Reynolds, environment, regulation and resilience manager for the council, told the committee that more than 500 people responded to an online questionnaire about what should be done about the gull problem.

He said: “The responses were broadly split between those who wanted a cull, which is illegal, and those who felt that we live by the seaside and this is just something we have to live with.”

The council will also try to spread the message to both people living in the borough, schools and visitors to not feed herring gulls, which have been responsible for the ‘mugging’ attacks on people on the sea front.

This may include ‘do not feed the gulls’ messages being put on the inside of fish and chip boxes.

However, one option not likely to be explored is to prosecute people for feeding gulls.

Mr Reynolds added: “You would have to prove people intended to drop food in order to leave it there, they will say they expect it to be taken by the gulls so they were not littering under the letter of the law.

“I could only find two instances of people being given penalty notices for feeding gulls in England and both of those were revoked on appeal.”