1. ITV Report

Hartlepool campaign: 'Don't feed the gulls'

Aggressive seagulls cause a nuisance on the Headland and Seaton Carew. Photo: PA
Project Officer Kate Ainger, Councillor Dave Hunter and Enforcement Team Leader Phil Hepburn with one of the posters. Credit: Hartlepool Borough Council

A campaign has been launched in Hartlepool to urge residents and visitors not to feed seagulls.

While the issue is a town-wide matter, most problems arise near fish and chip shops and fast food outlets at Seaton Carew and on the Headland, where food dropped on the ground attracts birds.

Hartlepool Borough Council, which has erected street signs and put stickers on litter bins as part of its campaign, says feeding birds can potentially make them more aggressive and it causes mess and nuisance.

And the council fears this could have a negative impact on its efforts to promote town as a family visitor destination.

The launch of the campaign coincides with the school summer holidays, traditionally the busiest time of the year for the seaside areas.

It also comes as the town’s carnival, which is set to attract thousands of visitors, gets into full swing at the Town Moor on the Headland.

Food is often deliberately given to birds by people eating outdoors on the seafront at Seaton Carew, the Headland and other areas. Indeed, it appears some people see this as an acceptable alternative to placing their waste food in litter bins.

The unattractive image of litter and bird dropping-strewn outdoor areas is likely to have a negative impact on people’s perceptions of the town, so we have launched the campaign to protect the town’s reputation as a family visitor destination.

There is a further risk that if contact between seagulls and people is encouraged the birds could become less fearful of and more aggressive towards people.

– Councillor Dave Hunter, Chair of the Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee

The campaign is part of the Council’s Clean and Green Strategy that aims to improve the local environment.

Local businesses are being asked to support it by downloading a poster from the Council’s website and displaying it in their window. The poster – and an information leaflet providing a wide range of information about seagulls – can be found here