A review last autumn concluded that a change of approach was needed and, rather than relying on the traditional approach of egg oiling, egg and nests would be removed and birds of prey would be deployed. A number of contractors were invited to present their ideas, with Mitie being the successful bidder. The three year contract will allow the company to take a long-term, concerted approach to dealing with the problem.
The Council made its first attempts to tackle the problem back in 2001 by introducing an egg oiling programme over a limited area within the city. Since then the area covered has been expanded and over recent years the Council has been spending £20,000 per year in an attempt to frustrate the breeding routine of these birds. That budget has now been increased significantly in a bid to get a grip of the problem.
Mitie are due to start their work imminently and as soon as the seagulls start laying the contractors will be removing the eggs and nests. Residents are being urged to call the Council’s Here to Help line on Gloucester 396396 if they see any signs of these birds making a nest. People are also being encouraged not to feed the gulls and to make sure that all litter is binned.
Councillor Jim Porter, the Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment said, “We recognise that seagulls are a real problem, particularly in the city centre. We are not alone in this as many towns and cities face the same issue. Our efforts in recent years have stemmed the growth of the seagull population, but we want to do more to tackle this menace and that’s what this new contract is designed to achieve. We recognise that there is no quick fix to this problem but are confident that we will see positive results through taking this approach.”
New seagull-proof bins are on the process of being installed in the city centre and many businesses have been supplied with seagull-proof bags for their trade waste.