Council facing increasing complaints over nuisance seagulls

Pic: Michael Gillen
Pic: Michael Gillen

Fife Council has said there is very little it can do to deal with nuisance seagulls.

At the south and west Fife area committee on Wednesday, councillors weretold the local authority has no legal responsibility for the gulls – despite a yearly increase in the number of complaints.

The council’s pest control doesn’t have the equipment available to help remove nests. 

Any egg or nest removal must conform to a licence issued by Scottish Natural Heritage –and the action needs to be taken over several years before gulls change their nesting habits.

At the meeting, councillors agreed more needed to be done around education – including visiting local high schools to discourage them from littering – increased signage to prevent littering, and ensuring food outlets manage food waste effectively.

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They argued such measures could make a real difference.

Cllr Dave Coleman said: “Seagulls are only going to go to the places where there is food available.

“The concept of taking nests and eggs away, I find personally distasteful.

“But the problems come from overflowing bins, and high school kids chucking rubbish around. We need to look at enforcing this.”

Councillor Alice McGarry, committee convener, said: “Gulls are quite large and can become very intimidating to the public especially if they are eating in the street.

“They are a protected species so we can only take action if it is to protect public health, safety or prevents the spread of disease.

“We’d rather try to reduce the problem through education. We need everyone to acknowledge the problem and address the issues that cause them.”