Moss-covered roofs creating 'landing pad' for gulls in town

Gulls are deterred from landing on clean roofs as there is a risk of slipping.

No money set aside at Moray Council to tackle moss which is encouraging gulls to nest on council house roofs LDRS

Moss on council house roofs is encouraging gulls to nest and should be removed as a matter of urgency.

That was the message from Elgin councillors at a meeting of the housing and community safety committee on Tuesday.

But Moray Council has no money set aside to tackle the problem.

Labour member for Elgin South, John Dives, told the committee not only did moss provide food and nesting material for the birds, but gave them a safe “landing pad”.

Gulls are deterred from landing on clean roofs as there is a risk of slipping.

Addressing the urban gull problem is a priority for people in New Elgin.

It was identified as a main concern following a consultation and engagement exercise carried out as part of the Community Empowerment Act, resulting in a Local Outcome Improvement Plan (Loip) being produced.

Mr Divers said: “Within New Elgin east we have a Loip which highlights the need for dealing with seagulls.

“The fact that it is a Loip action and a priority of this council under community planning, when is the intention to deal with moss on the roofs in New Elgin east?

“I realise it’s not just New Elgin east it’s a wider issue, but we don’t seem to be dealing with it.

“It’s a Loip priority, a priority for constituents and for councillors.”

Sandy Keith, Labour councillor for Elgin North told the meeting the problem was not restricted to New Elgin.

He said: “There’s a property within a couple of hundred yards of where I stay where you could argue the roof has got a different colour.

“It would be more appropriate to take a lawn mower down it – I am not jesting.

“It’s also an area where gulls attacked my son last week.

“One of the pieces of advice we seem to be getting is to do everything you can to prevent nesting in the first place.

“Moss removal would be one of those things.”

Property asset manager Neil Strachan explained there was no allocation in the budget specifically for moss removal.

He said: “We could bring additional works in for the new budget for the next financial year.

“We can certainly look at the major issues just now and see where there are specific problems.

“We could build that into the budget for the next financial year.”

A meeting was held this week with councillors, local government officers, NatureScot, Elgin Bid and members of Elgin Community Council to look at problems with the birds in the town.

A gull management plan will now be put together to address issues.

It is illegal to destroy eggs, chicks or nests without a licence from environment agency.

In the past the council used a licence to deter gulls from nesting in particular areas.

However a tightening up of the rules means individual property owners or occupiers each need to apply for one.

Home owners are also encouraged to install prevention measures to stop gulls nesting before more direct action is taken.

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