Calls for action to deal with Fraserburgh's seagull problems

More than 1500 people have signed an online petition calling for action to bring the town’s seagull population under control.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 5:17 pm
Many people in Fraserburgh have had problems with seagulls over the summer.

Councillor Brian Topping has also raised his concerns, submitting a motion for the next Aberdeenshire Council full council meeting seeking to find ways to control the gull population and to tackle the issue of seagull mess on the streets.

The Change-org petition by James Smith, from Fraserburgh, is directed to Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Parliament.

It says the growing seagull population in Fraserburgh and beyond is causing a number of issues, including health problems due to the amount of toxic excrement deposited on surfaces in the town, and the destruction of car paint and roof surfaces.

The petition also states that there are “regular dive bomb attacks” by seagulls and noise due to bird calls and scraping on house roofs.

While seagulls are part and parcel of life in a coastal town, Cllr Topping agrees there are issues that need addressed.

His motion calls on the chief executive of the council to engage with the Scottish Government regarding the protection of certain seagull species, and to see what can be done for “our badly affected seaside towns” in regard to seagull mess.

It also calls on the chief executive to approach the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) requesting it look at the restrictions on councils when it comes to removing seagull mess.

Cllr Topping said: “There is an issue here, but there are certain restrictions to tackling the problem. The Scottish Government is responsible for the legislation protecting certain species of seagulls, but I want to find ways the council, businesses and the community can work together to find solutions.

“We need to find out what we can do within the regulations, or whether there is legislation which would allow us to do certain things.”

Cllr Topping, who is chairman of the Fraserburgh Regeneration Society, added: “A lot of money has been spent and a lot of work has been – and is being – carried out to improve the town, but there is bird mess covering much of the area. I’d like to see the council and the community working together to ensure that areas badly affected, such as the town centre, are cleaned on a daily basis.”

He said SEPA regulations prevented the council from power washing the streets to get rid of the mess, but he believed there had to be some sort of street cleaning machine that could do the job.

However, he did add: “I find it a bit odd that the council is not allowed to power wash the streets but we had all that heavy rain recently that washed the mess down the drains anyway. But then I’m not an expert on this, so that’s why I’m asking the reasons for the restrictions, can they be lifted or eased, or what else can be done?”

Cllr Topping, though, also stressed local people needed to play their part too by not dropping litter - particularly leftover takeaway food – which just attracts the birds.

“People who have food, whether that’s fast food takeaways or going for a picnic or barbecue, need to make sure they don’t leave leftover food lying around as that just attracts the seagulls,” he said. “Take it home or dispose of it properly.”

See the petition at change.org.