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  1. ITV Report

Scarborough Council to spend £36k on 'nuisance gulls'

Herring gulls Photo: PA

Scarborough Borough Council is spending £36,500 appointing a 'specialist contractor' to deal with the 'nuisance' local herring gull population.

A one year 'disruption and dispersal programme' is to be launched targeting the problem in selected areas on the North Yorkshire coast. It will be carried out by NBC Environment, focusing on seafront and town centre locations in Scarborough and Whitby.

It could begin in March and would involve the removal of herring gull eggs and nests from buildings in the selected areas and the use of birds of prey such as Harris hawks and falcons to deter and scare away gulls.

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“Everyone knows herring gulls are a quintessential part of visiting or living by the seaside and no one wants to see that association disappear. What we have witnessed in recent years though is an ongoing increase in the number of gulls and the nuisance they cause, often in the form of attacks on people.

“The programme will start to tackle those problems head on although it should not be seen as an instant fix and will not be successful in isolation. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of changing human behaviour and our existing initiatives to educate the public about not feeding the gulls will be intensified in the coming months.

“If the programme shows promise in helping to tackle the issues, we will consider whether or not to extend it into future years and to roll it out into other areas of the borough, where there is a need for it.”

– Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member

Chris Collett, from the RSPB, said gulls were a natural part of coastal life, but recognised they can be a problem.

He said: "The most effective way to deal with the issue is to reduce the availability of food. As a result, we strongly discourage anyone from feeding gulls and would advise councils to provide 'gull proof' public litter bins.

"Unless food availability is reduced any 'vacancies' created by dispersing existing gulls will simply be filled by other gulls moving in."