Scheme to rid Edinburgh of problem seagulls
A DE-NESTING programme to rid Edinburgh from the scourge of “dive-bombing seagulls” is to be launched after a successful pilot.
Environment chiefs in the Scottish capital will introduce the system following complaints from residents in a number of areas at the prevalence of such birds.
A pilot in the Merchiston and Bruntsfield areas of the city last year removed 107 gulls’ nests and 165 eggs were destroyed.
During the Edinburgh City Council scheme no complaints were received concerning any nuisance from the birds.
The original quote for the programme in that suburb alone was £25,000 but was completed for just £9,000, as many roofs were more accessible than first thought and did not require the need for cherry pickers.
However, the local authority today confirmed that introducing such a scheme across the city would be too expensive, and has priced the service at £70 per visit.
The city’s transport and environment committee, which approved the introduction of the new scheme, earlier heard evidence from gull experts and local residents as to the nature of the problem.
Dr Mairianna Clyde, from Merchiston Community Council, cited what she described as numerous reports of “dive bombings”, the colliding of gulls with residents, and the proximity of droppings to outdoor cafe outlets.
“I find it difficult to believe the resources cannot be found [for a free scheme]” she told the committee, adding that gulls become “more aggressive” during the summer months, leading to a rise in complaints.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, afterwards said that the new system would be introduced but that the local authority could not fund it.
She told The Scotsman: “This has been a problem for some time but we believe it has declined in recent years, with the increasing use of on-street containers for refuse.
“However, we wanted to introduce this service so there was a system on hand to deal with these problems. The pilot in Merchiston was successful and it makes sense this service is provided across the city.
“We were not able to continue to offer the service for free, as was the case in the pilot, however, we’ll try to make sure it’s a low of possible, and I understand will be about £70 per visit.”
Councils have no statutory duty to take action against gulls. However, the gull population has become so large in some areas that many are now investing time and resources in dealing with the problem.
Dumfries and Galloway Council offers a free nest and egg removal service during the main breeding period of May-July, the results of which are being monitored by the Scottish Government. It has been reported that the service has led to an 87 per cent reduction in the young gull population.
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