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Aberdeenshire Council's seagull review extended as public littering and gull feeding highlighted as main problem


By Lewis McBlane

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COUNCILLORS have blamed the public for gull troubles as Aberdeenshire's urban seagull review stumbles.

The review on how Aberdeenshire Council should respond to urban gulls has drawn a blank so far...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
The review on how Aberdeenshire Council should respond to urban gulls has drawn a blank so far...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

A review of Aberdeenshire Council's response to seagull attacks and fouling in towns has been given longer to hunt for new solutions.

The infrastructure services committee heard that the review's deadline was originally January 2022, but the team found the issue to be "extremely complex".

An update delivered to the committee on Thursday said standard measures fail long-term.

The report said: "There remains considerable doubt regarding previous strategies that have been tried in terms of their longer term effectiveness.

"Egg and nest removal, for instance, may provide immediate respite in a particular area however gulls are very adaptable and there are concerns that this simply moves the problem into other urban areas."

Committee members suggested that responsibility for solving seagull attacks and fouling lies with the public.

Councillor Peter Argyle, infrastructure services committee chairman, said: “While there continue to be too many who point the finger at the gulls and say they are a nuisance, in many respects they are not – human behaviour leads to the problem.

"We have created both a false environment and a false food supply on which they are now thriving which is exacerbated by the unacceptable volume of littering which continues to occur despite all our messaging and education.

"I look forward to the outcome of our review and hope that, together, we can make a real difference within all our communities.”

Vice-chairman councillor John Cox said: “As we have limited powers to take action against the gulls, the key to reducing attacks by gulls lies in reducing their ability to breed and limiting the supply of food.

"The current advice – dispose of all food waste appropriately, do not leave food out for gulls in your gardens and do not feed them in other places where it encourages them to congregate and steal food – is a step until legislation permits the council to take other action."

The council is tackling gull problems by setting up "stakeholder committees" made up of council staff and charities, setting up a new steering group and by reaching out to other communities affected by urban gulls.

A partnership has also been suggested with the University of Aberdeen to find fresh answers through council-funded research.


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