Contract extended to protect Scarborough and Whitby homes from seagulls as number of 'attacks' revealed

Scarborough Council has extended a £50,000 contract with a pest control company to help provide a seagull proofing scheme for private properties.

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 3:38 pm

East Coast Pest Control’s contract with Scarborough Council has been extended without a public tender, as the council says the area has “experienced problems with urban gulls for a number of years”.

While the value of the contract to East Coast Pest Control “will be over £50,000” the council has allocated £36,000 towards gull-proofing private properties in Scarborough, Whitby, and Filey.

As of the end of May, more than £29,686 remained to be handed out to assist residents with the cost of purchasing and installing gull-proofing materials.

Seagulls have caused considerable problems across Scarborough, from swooping at passers-by and leaving droppings.

The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Since Scarborough Council launched its seagull property proofing scheme in August 2020 a total of 21 properties have “benefitted from the match funding scheme” and have been seagull proofed.

The scheme allows the council to contribute 50 per cent of costs, up to a maximum of £2,000, towards gull-proofing any private buildings in defined areas of Filey, Scarborough and Whitby.

In the six months leading up to May 2022, when the most recent data has been made available, six properties have been seagull proofed under the scheme.

Since 2016, Scarborough Council has also had a “gull mugging” reporting form which allows “victims of seagulls, who were either directly attacked or had food stolen from them” to inform the local authority.

The data reveals that between January and July 4, there were 19 recorded “gull incidents” or “attacks” on people.

The contract with East Coast Pest Control was re-signed until March 2023 – without a public tender process – as the council felt it “appropriate” that members of the new North Yorkshire Council will “have the opportunity to decide on any future seagulls policy going forward”.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), all wild birds, their nests, eggs and chicks are protected by law and even an empty unoccupied nest may not be removed within the breeding season.

According to the council, “proofing efforts should take place during the winter months” and those seeking help or advice should contact the council via its online seagull advice page.