Inquiry hears concerns about Scarborough gulls

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PROPERTY owners in Scarborough are being urged to proof their buildings with netting to help combat the town’s growing seagull population after an inquiry today heard claims they are damaging tourism and causing a hazard.

The inquiry, set up by Scarborough Borough Council to investigate ways of dealing with the gull problem was told by environmental health manager, Steve Reynolds the number of birds had rocketed in recent years.

He said the problem of seagulls on the coast dated back to 1942 but the council had taken action to curb the populations between 1976 and 1990. Mr Reynolds said in recent years experiments had been carried out using, spikes on ledges and chimneys, after culling had ended when the Ministry of Agriculture refused to grant further licences to use bait.

He said proofing of buildings was effective and said various alternatives had been used or considered to reduce the problem.

Dr John Coulson, a scientist and expert on avian ecology, said in a statement if the council wanted to remove kittiwakes from buildings netting should be used. “I am sure that methods can be developed to drive nesting gulls out of the towns but it will be expensive and labour intensive and may take 10 years to achieve with the numbers of gulls found in Scarborough.”