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Moray Council to ask for government funding to help tackle gull ‘infestation’

Tackling the gull problem in Moray is on the agenda for councillors next week. Picture by Jason Hedges
Tackling the gull problem in Moray is on the agenda for councillors next week. Picture by Jason Hedges

Moray Council will ask for financial help from the UK and Scottish governments to rid communities of an “infestation” of gulls.

Unanimous support has been given for a comprehensive list of actions to be compiled that the local authority can take to stop the menace.

At a full council meeting today, Buckie councillor Tim Eagle put forward a motion for officers to investigate options the council can take to target the birds and to seek financial assistance from national governments.

Tim Eagle, leader of Moray Council’s Conservative group.

He said people in his ward were too scared to use their gardens because of the threat from herring gulls, and children were being attacked in the street. 

Keith and Cullen councillor Donald Gatt seconded the motion.

He said: “The seagulls are so intelligent they are working out how to get rubbish out of the seagull-proof bins.” 

‘We need to take more serious action’

Council leader Graham Leadbitter highlighted action taken by the local authority in Elgin and other areas to remove nests and eggs before hatching, with around £60,000 coming from the town’s Common Good fund to finance the action.

He said: “It’s fair to call this an infestation.

“Hundreds of eggs have been removed from Moray Council commercial and residential properties and hundreds of nests as well. 

“It’s very difficult getting rid of existing populations and that is going to take a little bit of time as the gulls live into their teens.” 

Councillor John Divers

Councillor for Elgin South John Divers said the town had been dealing with the issue for years.

“We have to highlight that people are feeding the birds from their kitchen windows,” he said.

“I think we need to take more serious action against these people and not just give them a warning. 

“I had one constituent who had to have 23 stitches in her head because of an attack.” 

Mr Divers added NatureScot had become more restrictive with issuing licenses for clearing eggs and nests, with one needed for every property instead of an area and no second license issued one a nest is removed. 

Rob Teasdale from Specialist Vermin Control removing a gull nest in the Little Canada area in Elgin. Photo: Jason Hedges/DCT Media

Forres councillor Claire Feaver said: “There’s no point spending thousands of pounds moving eggs if you don’t prevent the gulls from nesting in the first place. 

“Putting spikes and netting on buildings should be the first measures. 

“There is a problem with litter but there is a large percentage of pig farms in Moray and it’s interesting to see how feed is distributed and the huge amount of gulls taking advantage of that.”

The report on how the council will help communities with gull issues will go to the meeting of the economic development and infrastructure committee on October 19. 

Council leader Mr Leadbitter will write to Moray’s MP and MSPs as well as the Scottish and UK governments to seek financial support to rid the area’s towns and villages of the gull menace.

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