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No urban gull meeting for disgruntled Elgin residents

Gulls are a menace in Moray
Gulls are running riot in Elgin and across Moray.

A public meeting to discuss the problem of urban gulls in Elgin has been shelved.

The town’s community council has been trying to organise the event for months, with the aim of having a representative from NatureScot attend.

However NatureScot, the agency responsible for improving the country’s natural environment, told the group it is unable to put anyone forward because of staffing issues.

Meeting will not take place

No date had been set for the meeting.

Last month the organisation issued an apology to Elgin Community Council after failing to reply to emails and phone calls from chairman Alastair Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy was hopeful a representative would attend the event to answer questions from locals.

Herring gulls are a protected species as their numbers are declining nationally, although in Elgin the birds appear to be on the increase.

Gulls at Doocot Park in Elgin.

There have been incidents where gulls have attacked people, including one where a woman needed stitches.

Last year, roads around the town centre were strewn with carcasses of dead chicks that had been run over.

Number of gulls in Elgin appears to be ‘thriving’

Mr Kennedy said: “We didn’t have a date or anything set before NatureScot said no to attending a meeting.

“It’s a public agency funded by the tax payers. Surely they should come out and explain to people why these birds are protected and why they think numbers are falling.

“That does not seem to be the case in Elgin where they appear to be thriving.

“It’s very disappointing because people have the right to know why there’s such a problem with gulls and why they can do very little about it.

“The public deserve better from a public agency.”

Chairman of Elgin Community Council Alastair Kennedy.

Information and advice offered

There have been recent changes to the licences needed to remove birds, nests and eggs from properties, with home owners encouraged to install bird prevention measures to deter the gulls.

Moray Council has committed to spending £44,000 on gull proof bins and a further £2,000 on an education programme aimed at encouraging people not to feed them.

Laser disruption of gulls has stopped as it is not seen as cost effective.

A spokeswoman for NatureScot said: “We have a very limited team and we do not have the capacity to attend local meetings at present.

“However, we have provided information and advice to Elgin Community Council and are happy to assist by answering any further questions they might have.”

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