Gonna call Gullbusters!

A new pilot project is going to tackle the problem of seagulls in the town centre.
A new pilot project is going to tackle the problem of seagulls in the town centre.

A ground-breaking scheme which aims to finally rid Fife of menacing seagulls looks set to trial on Kirkcaldy High Street.

The proposal, devised by councillors Tom Adams and Peter George, would see bio-acoustic speakers installed which emit a distress call to gulls.

The duo, who have dubbed themselves the ‘Gullbusters’, aim to start the pilot scheme in February, before next year’s breeding season begins.

“Srictly speaking this is not the council’s statutory responsibility but to do nothing is not an option anymore,” said Cllr Adams.

“Do we have to wait for a child to be seriously injured? No.”

Complaints had risen on the back of growing colonies of aggressive seagulls in various hotspots across Fife – but Kirkcaldy was by the far the worst.

He said: “Gulls are protected but they’ve become a pest.

“There’s been a build up over years but especially in the last year the amount of complaints has grown quite a bit.

“We want a pilot on Kirkcaldy High Street because I think there are more reports of attacks and swooping seagulls there than anywhere else.”

The project, which is expected to cost in the region of £30,000 if approved, will use Scarecrow speakers which emit automatic distress calls to disperse roosting colonies.

In addition the project would apply for a licence to remove eggs and nests – a method that takes three years to effect change and has been tried in recent years by Kirkcaldy4all.

“If you want to cull them you have to have a special licence but most people wouldn’t want that because it would mean people walking about with guns,” said Cllr Adams.

“When a chick is born, three to four years later they return to the same place to roost which is why the colonies get bigger.

“There’s a mixture of reasons why Kirkcaldy is a hotspot – there’s a lot of food available and a lot of flat roofs which provide ideal nesting sites.”

He added: “This is worth a shot but there also has to be a big campaign which focuses on getting the message across: Don’t Feed the Gulls!”

Bill Harvey, chairman of Kirkcaldy 4All, said: “ We ran a programme but, last year, due to funding cuts, it was the one thing we could no longer afford.”

He added: “We would be delighted if Fife Council ran a pilot here and if there’s anything we can do to assist, we will.

“The seagulls here are very smart – they have this knack of swooping from behind over your shoulder, snatching food and then they’re away before you know what’s happened.”