Urban gulls are an issue for many towns and cities throughout the South West. Whilst we can action situations that may attract gulls, such as poor house-keeping within premises, there is no legislation that enables the Council to control them effectively.
Update: 20 February 2017
Last week the Council’s Cabinet approved the budget for 2017/18 which included an allocation of £57k for the gull strategy. This will enable us to repeat our successful programme of egg and nest removal in the same locations/wards as last year, namely:
- former factory site in Midsomer Norton
More details about how to access treatments in the above areas will appear here in due course.
What harm do gulls do?
Gulls are wild animals and consequently can become aggressive especially during the breeding season.
When do they cause most problems and why?
Gulls tend to cause problems during the breeding season when they can become noisy and aggressive in protecting their young.
Is the gull population growing year on year?
The gull population in B&NES has experienced an average increase of 11 breeding pairs per year since 2012. This is a reduced growth rate from previous years (Rock, 2015).
Can you take enforcement action?
The Council is able to action issues that may attract gulls to premises such as poor waste management or housekeeping, but we are unable to take enforcement action directly for the actual presence of gulls.
All birds, eggs and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) issue a number of general licences which allow authorised persons to take or kill using certain specified methods. The 1981 Act does not allow action against birds for the prevention of damage to property or nuisance problems, i.e. noise or smell. Further information is available on DEFRA's website at www.gov.uk/wild-birds#managing-general-licence-birds .
What can you do about noise from gulls?
Gulls are particularly noisy when they are rearing their chicks as they are very protective of their nests. There is no legislation that helps us deal with noise from gulls. Unfortunately, by the time that you are being subjected to the noise there is nothing that can be done.
I have a gulls nest on my roof, is there anything you can do?
The Council has earmarked funding for free treatments to remove gull nests and eggs in designated areas and a contractor, NBC Bird and pest Solutions has been appointed to carry out this work. Further information will appear here on how these treatments can be accessed.
What can you do about accumulations of droppings?
Landowners are responsible for keeping their land free from accumulations of droppings. Therefore, gardens and possessions are the responsibility of the property owner and the Council are responsible for cleansing the highway and pavements. There is a regular schedule of street cleansing and for further information please contact:
Call on 01225 39 40 41.
Attacks from gulls
Gulls are wild birds and can be more aggressive when they have young chicks and are protecting their nests. It is recommended not to feed them and remove any potential food sources from your property.
What to do if you see a gull chick
If you see a gull chick, usually mottled brown and grey in colour, leave it alone as its parents will look after it. If the bird is injured then it may require treatment from the nearest vet or wildlife centre - for information on RSPCA wildlife centres, visit www.RSPCA.org.uk/wildlife or call us on 03001234 999.
Live gulls or other birds trapped in netting
To report live birds entangled in or trapped behind netting, please contact the RSPCA's 24 hour cruelty advice line on 03001234 999
Compensation for damage from gulls
Gulls are wild birds and the Council does not have any statutory responsibility to deal with them. For this reason the Council cannot provide compensation for any damage or nuisance or inconvenience that maybe caused by them.
What can I do?
Make sure you use your food waste recycling collection to reduce the opportunity for gulls to scavenge food from black rubbish bags. Remember to lock your food waste bin by pulling the handle forward. If you do not have a free food waste bin and/or smaller kitchen caddy please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not feed or encourage gulls by dropping food or feeding them scraps.
Dispose of litter responsibly in litter bins or take the litter home with you. Download our Don't feed the gulls leaflet for residents
Spread the word, download our 'Don't feed the Gulls' poster and display it in your window.
If you are a business read our Don't let your business feed the gulls leaflet for ideas on how your business can help.