Gull crackdown using drone sparks privacy fear
CONCERNS have been raised over whether an anti-gull drone in Cheltenham could see into residents’ bedroom windows.
The borough council is considering whether to buy a drone to spot gull nests in out-of-reach places, as part of deterrent measures against the birds.
The mobile copter would spot a nest for the council to later oil the eggs and prevent them from hatching.
But councillor Max Wilkinson questioned whether the council could get away with flying drones close to residents’ homes.
Mr Wilkinson (LD, Oakley), speaking at a scrutiny meeting on Monday night, said: “There are clearly issues of privacy we must consider. A drone could be well be close enough to see through our bedroom windows. I don’t know whether you know regulations around flying drones near buildings but this could be a worry for residents.”
The councillor who lead the study to tackle he town’s urban gull problem, Klara Sudbury, said she did not know the regulations on how close someone can fly near a residential building.
A council working group has come up with a series of recommendations to put to the council’s cabinet to agree next week, including increasing the urban gull budget by £10,000.
According to a report presented to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, urban gull colonies have risen from 239 in 2000 to 473 in 2015.
Of the recommendations, one of them included a suggestion to make residents treat gull nests themselves or if they don’t the council would attempt to enter the home instead.
Councillor Dilys Barrell, who coauthored the scrutiny report, said the council faces calls from residents to clear gull nests but are refused access.
Ms Barrell (LD, Park) said: “There is a block of flats in Park ward where gulls are nesting, and is frustrating residents. The housing association has completely refused access to clear it.”
Mrs Sudbury told the committee how Worcester City Council have introduced drones fitted with cameras to control gull numbers in the neighbouring district early this year.
The Worcestershire authority said the rotored robots were sent up in the high street to replace the gulls’ eggs with life-like dummies.
Councillor Joy Squires, chairman of Worcester City Council’s Environment Committee, said: “The drones were able to reveal hard-to-find gull nests hidden between chimney pots or squeezed into narrow roof gullies.”
Freddie and Beau Lee with their balloons
Cancer care charity Maggie’s held a Christmas fair at The Double Tree by Hilton in Charlton Kings. Pictured below, Lyn Ricketts and Rachel Norton. Pictures: Daniel Day