Extra money for gulls clampdown
Council set to approve funding in fight against birds
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.”