Moray Council has been asked to investigate a range of options to help tackle gull nuisance following an upsurge in complaints.
Residents across Moray have to deal with unsightly mess, excessive noise and even injuries due to attacks from the birds.
The council’s SNP administration has now requested that council officers explore other ways to handle the problem in Moray that will compliment the existing work being done.
Gulls have created ongoing issues for years now but there has been a recent increase in concerns being raised to councillors by residents across the region.
This is despite investment from the Housing and Estates Team, supported by the Common Good Fund, for egg and nest removals across Elgin. Specialist crews have cleared hundreds of nests this year, but the gulls have started to fightback.
Councillor Graham Leadbitter, council leader and chairman of the Economic Growth, Housing & Environmental Sustainability Committee, said a “significant effort” had been made to reduce gull numbers.
He said: “The council’s Housing and Estates Team arrange for the removal of nests and eggs from our buildings, including schools.
“Local councillors in Elgin and Forres have given cross-party and independent support to the use of Common Good funds in pilot projects in hotspots that have also seen the removal of hundreds of nests this year alone from houses.
“In addition Elgin Business Improvement District (BID) are also running their own funded project in Elgin city centre.
‘Gulls are frustratingly clever’
“Despite these efforts, gull complaints are on the increase and there is a significant impact on quality of life from excessive noise from gulls, from the mess they leave and even physical injury in cases where gulls have attacked people.
“We have asked council officers to look into a range of options to complement the existing work that is being done, ideas being considered include increased investment in nest and egg removal and investment in gull proofing litter bins.
“Also, local campaigns to inform householders and businesses on how they can help tackle the problem by ensuring food waste bins are secure and through good building maintenance to prevent nesting.
“The issue is complex as gulls are frustratingly clever and develop evasive behaviours such as seeking alternative food sources like animal feed in nearby agricultural settings.
Significant impact on the region
Mr Leadbitter said that there would be “no quick fix to the problem” and that continuous work would be required to see long-term results.
He added: “We are very keen to put in place measures that will contribute to a reduction in numbers and work with other councillors to gain support for that.”
The increase in gull complaints over the summer months can be linked to the gull mating season. The constant noise can be associated with young gulls expressing their hunger and parents becoming aggressive when protecting their nests.
Councillor Louise Nicol, the SNP’s lead on Housing and Communities, said: “There
is no doubt that aggressive and noisy behaviour of seagulls causes misery to many people.
“Many constituents report food being taken out of people’s hands, including children; attacks on pets and even attacks on people, causing injury and distress.
“The impact on both local residents and on visitors to our region is significant and the mess that is left behind costs significant time and money to fix – whether that is in cleaning up, or nesting material blocking drains and causing water damage to homes and businesses.
“The Council carries out egg and nest removal on its properties, as do many businesses and homeowners but we need more homeowners and businesses to keep an eye on their roofs and take action when nests appear.
“This needs to be a concerted effort from many people and we will look carefully at what additional investment could be made and seek the support of other councillors to better control gull numbers.”