Ways to tackle seagull menace to be focus of public meeting

Elgin Community Council is aiming to hold a meeting in February.

Ways to tackle seagull menace to be focus of public meeting iStock
Gull: Elgin Community Council is aiming to hold a meeting in February.

Elgin Community Council is organising a meeting to help put an end to the problem with gulls in the town.

The group aims to hold a public meeting in February and will lobby NatureScot, the group responsible for looking after the country’s natural environment, to send a representative.

It is hoped the representative can help explain legislation surrounding the removal of birds, their nests and eggs.

‘Number of gulls dropping, but not in Elgin’

Over recent years there have been several incidents where gulls have attacked people, including one where a woman needed stitches.

Community council chairman Alastair Kennedy said: “We’re told that the number of gulls are dropping, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Elgin.

“During the spring and summer folk here are deprived of sleep for weeks, and it’s a really difficult situation for them.

“There have been so many things done to deter them.

“Elgin Bid has used lasers and common good has supported egg removal, but we know we’re going to have another year of problems.

“We’d like to get some people from NatureScot to explain why the gulls have such strong protection when they’re such a blooming nuisance.”

Licences can be applied for to allow householders to remove nests and eggs from their property.

Moray Council has run a scheme over the last few years to assist with the process.

A spokeswoman for NatureScot said specific licences were required to deal with greater black backed gulls, lesser black backed gulls and herring gulls.

She said there is a need to look at alternatives as lethal control is always a last resort.

Lethal control of gulls a ‘last resort’

She added: “There are mitigation measures which do not require a licence, such as installing nets and spikes, which can be applied in some circumstances, but this is not always effective, practical and proportionate.

“Developing management plans to discourage gull nesting in urban areas is one of the areas we are keen to explore where there are significant issues.

“We are happy to engage with the local community and council on this.”

A date, time and location for the meeting is still to be confirmed.

By local democracy reporter Hazel Lawson