More time needed to find answers to Aberdeenshire's 'extremely complex' seagull issues

Aberdeenshire Council officers say they need more time to come up with solutions to the ongoing seagull concerns impacting on life in Fraserburgh, Peterhead and other coastal towns.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 7:04 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 7:04 am
Aberdeenshire Council officers are seeking to find solutions to the many seagull-related issues blighting many coastal towns and villages in the North-east.

An update on plans to tackle a range of gull-related problems in Aberdeenshire is due to be given to councillors today (Thursday).

Communities across the region sent hundreds of complaints to Aberdeenshire Council last year raising concerns about noise, aggressive behaviour, fouling and feeding of gulls.

The local authority’s Protective Services has been working on an Urban Gull Review and an update will go to member of the Infrastructure Services Committee.

Problems of waste attracting gulls will need to be addressed.

The Council has been working with a number of partners on the review including RSPB, Nature Scotland, and neighbouring Moray and Aberdeen City councils.

A full report with actions and findings to address the issue was expected to be discussed today, but officers say that the issue is “extremely complex” and more information will be sought before any final actions are decided.

Aberdeenshire Council currently uses a number of methods to help control seagull numbers in the region including egg and nest removal and gull proofing buildings.

A report issued to councillors last year revealed that between 2019 and 2020 Property and Facility Services staff removed 781 nests and 1,528 eggs from 178 council owned properties.

However, despite this work, the numbers of seagulls in the region have not changed and alternative measures are needed.

The review will look at all legal options for reducing gull issues. That could include controlling the feeding of the birds, waste storage, gull proofing buildings and also nest and egg removal.

Seagulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, meaning it is illegal to capture, injure or kill any wild bird or destroy its nest or eggs without a licence.

Aberdeenshire Council receives the most gull complaints between March and September although some birds remain in the area all year round.

A further update on the urban gull issue is expected to go before the committee again in March and is expected to recommend long and short-term actions to be taken to address the seagull issue.

Last August more than 1700 people signed an online petition in a bid to control the gull population in Fraserburgh.

And the gull menace issue was raised at Holyrood in October by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam, who also chaired an online public meeting to hear constituents’ concerns and to seek possible solutions.

Neighbouring Moray Council, meanwhile, was due to discuss plans to curb the region’s gull problem yesterday, with councillors expected to approve a major survey on urban gull habits and the installation of gull-proof bins.