Growing calls to tackle winged menaces in Fife town

Calls to tackle gulls growing. Pic by Kate Chandler
Calls to tackle gulls growing. Pic by Kate Chandler

The rising number of seagull attacks in Kirkcaldy in recent weeks has led to a growing call for more stringent action to be taken.

And with incidents including the Glenrothes pensioner who suffered a heart attack after being assaulted by a gull while out walking her son’s dog and an eight-month-old baby being swooped on while in a buggy, the public has been speaking out in its droves.

Some people see the seagulls as a menace. Picture: Toby Williams

Some people see the seagulls as a menace. Picture: Toby Williams

David Cruickshanks whose mother Margaret was attacked while she was walking his dog on Katherine Street, said that Kirkcaldy should be taking “grown-up decisive action” to curb the menace.

“There needs to be a proper, widespread egg removal scheme like there was in Peterhead where they have seen a vast improvement in the situation,” he said.

“They have been doing it over a number of years and it is working.

“Everyone has to take resposibility by disposing of their own litter properly too, but where these gulls are becoming a nuisance and danger to people then more serious action is needed.”

Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All says it is working with Fife Council on an egg removal programme and has taken away between 200-300 eggs from the town centre area.

“We did this for four years, but financial constrictions meant we had to stop for a year.

“We started again this year, removing eggs from nests at commercial premises. We’ve had to restrict it to the town centre area because of funding and we don’t cover private premises.”

Kirkcaldy central councillor, Alastair Cameron, has also joined the debate, calling for action to be taken this year to help alleviate the problem next year.

“Over the last four to five weeks I have had at least five complaints a week from people saying they want something done about the seagulls,” he said.

“One lady said that her baby had been attacked twice while in a buggy and she had to fight the gull off with her handbag, and I have had dozens more reports of attacks.

“We live in a beautiful seaside town, so we have to expect seagulls, but their numbers in recent years have been getting out of hand. I think we are reaching a tipping point where more serious action has to be taken to come up with a solution.

“This has to centre around making them not want to build their nests in the town by taking away their food supply.

“We have to educate people to dispose of their food waste more responsibly, whether it’s people eating takeaways at night or schoolchildren throwing away their rubbish at lunchtimes, we have to make them see this is making the problem worse.

“I know lots of people would like to see a proper cull of the gulls but that takes a lot of legislation. However if that is what is needed then we may have to look at that option.

“In the meantime I will be raising this at the Kirkcaldy area committee after the break to see what action we can take this year to try to reduce attacks on members of the public next year.”