Ex­tra money for gulls clam­p­down

Coun­cil set to ap­prove fund­ing in fight against birds

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE - By LEIGH BOOBYER

SE­NIOR coun­cil­lors are set to ap­prove an ex­tra £10,000 to end Chel­tenham’s war on gulls. The pesky birds are caus­ing sleep­less nights for some res­i­dents in the town and Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil’s cab­i­net are ex­pected to green-light the cash in­jec­tion next week.

It’s been pre­vi­ously re­ported that a task force group rec­om­mended the coun­cil should buy a drone to spot rooftop nests that could then be tar­geted by pre­ven­tion meth­ods.

Spot­ting the gulls’ homes with the ro­tored ro­bot would mean of­fi­cials could oil more eggs to pre­vent them hatch­ing.

It is not yet known whether the author­ity will buy a drone. The ex­tra £10,000 in­vest­ment is due to be ap­proved and se­nior coun­cil­lors will then de­cide what to spend it on.

Ac­cord­ing to a coun­cil re­port, ur­ban gull colonies have risen from 239 in 2000 to 473 in 2015 – an in­crease of nearly 100 per cent. It has shot up be­cause of gen­er­ally higher tem­per­a­tures in towns, street light­ing al­low­ing night time for­ag­ing, ur­ban refuse and nearby land­fill sites, and build­ings which pro­vide safe nest­ing sites, the coun­cil doc­u­ment said.

The gulls tend to set­tle down in res­i­den­tial ar­eas which the coun­cil says are hotspots for loud squawks and de­ploy large amounts of drop­pings.

If ap­proved next week, the author­ity’s en­force­ment man­ager will de­velop and launch a costed ac­tion plan.

The cab­i­net are ex­pected to ap­prove the strat­egy on March 5, from 6pm.

The scru­tiny task group put for­ward 19 rec­om­men­da­tions for the author­ity’s cab­i­net to con­sider last Novem­ber.

The main rec­om­men­da­tion by the group, chaired by coun­cil­lor Klara Sud­bury (LD, Col­lege), is to in­crease the money used to tackle the is­sue of ur­ban gulls by £10,000 for 2019.

It is be­ing rec­om­mended: » Res­i­dents’ bins could be fit­ted with gull-proof flaps and pro­vided when lit­ter bins are due to be re­placed.

» Con­sider bring­ing in ‘Belly bins’ for the town

» Make take­ways and mo­bile cater­ing vans pro­vide gull-proof bin out­side of the premises

» Ap­prove new home devel­op­ments through the plan­ning com­mit­tee that would take into ac­count op­por­tu­nity sites for gulls to nest on.

» Work with Chel­tenham busi­nesses to con­sider spon­sor­ing gull-proof lit­ter bins

» Ask coun­cil leader Steve Jor­dan to write to the Gov­ern­ment to ask them to re­con­sider fund­ing na­tional re­search on ur­ban gulls

» Find out what pow­ers the coun­cil has to en­force prop­erty own­ers to gull­proof their prop­erty and ask Chel­tenham MP Alex Chalk to ad­dress at a na­tional level any le­gal loop­holes in such pow­ers

Worces­ter City Coun­cil launched drones fit­ted with cam­eras to con­trol gull num­bers last year.

The district author­ity said the drones were sent up in the high street to re­place the gulls’ eggs with life-like dum­mies.

Coun­cil­lor Joy Squires, chair­woman of the city coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee, said at the time: “We would never have been able to spot th­ese nests from the ground, so to get a bird’s eye view is enor­mously help­ful as we in­crease our ef­forts to con­trol gull num­bers in the city.”

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