Sonar devices installed in bid to control 'berserk' gull population

Machines were placed on buildings around the town for a 12-week period over the spring and early summer.

Sonar devices installed in bid to control urban gull population in Elgin iStock

Sonar devices installed to try and control Elgin’s urban gull population may have had an impact.

Machines were placed on buildings around the town for a 12-week period over the spring and early summer to try and prevent the birds from breeding.

Elgin Common Good Fund spent £15,000 to rent eight anti-gull devices and have them installed by vermin control specialists in April.

A full report on how successful the project has been will go before councillors in the next few weeks.

But ahead of that, a meeting will be held with elected members, Moray Council officers and Elgin Bid to look at the results and consider a way forward.

Anecdotal evidence received by Elgin Community Council from people living in the town, suggests the devices have had some impact.

Chairman Alastair Kennedy said: “Folk have been saying the gulls were fairly quiet until this last few weeks or so.

“Since then they’ve gone berserk.

“So it looks as if they’ve had some sort of effect as that coincides with the devices being switched off.

“But I know folk in an area of New Elgin who are still demented with the gulls, and have been all summer.

“So there are pockets that the devices don’t appear to be covering.”

The sonar devices were installed across the town after initial trials carried out by Elgin Bid proved positive.

One machine operating on top of the St Giles Centre on the High Street saw the number of nests reduce from over 100 to six.

Elgin South councillor John Divers has been trying to deal with the gull menace for years.

He is aware some areas have not benefited from the sonar scheme.

However he is confident those issues can be addressed before next year’s breeding season starts.

Mr Divers said: We’ve not used these devices before so this year is the first toe in the water so to speak.

“Some people have said that chicks have been born in July.

“If that’s the case then we can look at possibly extending the length of time the devices are on site to four months.

“That’s the point of the meeting. We can look at the evidence and decide where we we go from there.

“I know people are frustrated with the legislation, we are too.

“But you can’t go breaking the law.”

Stricter conditions for licences needed to deal with gulls have been brought in by NatureScot.

Previously one could be used to to cover a street or particular area. Now each householder has to apply separately.

It is illegal to kill the birds or disturb their nests.

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