Seagull menace leaves Kirkcudbright residents 'afraid to leave home'

  • Video report by Lewis Warner

Residents in Kircudbright are calling for action against seagulls. They say gulls are attacking pets and people, leaving some afraid to leave their homes. They're calling for nests and eggs to be removed.

Unfortunately for those who want action - seagulls are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Gull control activities can only be carried out with a licence and at certain times of the year but the local council currently only has a permit for Dumfries and a small part of Annan. Dumfries and Galloway Council say they'll be applying for a license to cover Kirkcudbright next year.

Seagulls migrate away from Britain in the Autumn

In a statement, Dumfries and Galloway Council said, "There is no statutory duty on the Council to control or eradicate gulls and they are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.The Council has, however, dedicated resources to the control of gulls since 2009 with a focus on Dumfries town, where there was a particularly aggressive population of gulls.Gull control activities can only be carried out under a licence from Nature Scot and the current licence only covers specific properties in Dumfries and a small area of Annan. It is illegal for the Council to carry out gull control activities outwith those areas.We're aware of the increasing number of issues experienced by residents in Kirkcudbright and some of our other towns. We commissioned a gull survey in September 2020 to log the numbers and types of gulls in specific towns, including Kirkcudbright.

The Council will now be appointing an Environmental Safety Officer to focus on prevention measures and apply to Nature Scot for a licence to cover Kirkcudbright next year that will allow control measures to be taken as a last resort."

The body that issues licenses, Nature Scot says: "Gulls are our very own urban wildlife and they are truly fascinating birds; some of our Scottish gulls have been tracked travelling thousands of miles to overwinter in Africa. 

"All breeding birds are protected by law. Herring gulls are a red-listed species on the birds of conservation concern, meaning that overall their populations are in decline."

It also suggests prevention measures like banning feeding gulls providing better food waste is disposal.