Herring Gull information roadshows

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Public information days will be held in Filey, Scarborough and Whitby this week when the Herring Gull information roadshows return to the Yorkshire coast.

NBC Environment, the company that is carrying out a Herring Gull disruption and dispersal programme on behalf of Scarborough Borough Council for the second year running, will pitch up at Filey Coble Landing on the morning of Wednesday 11 April, Dock End in Whitby on the afternoon of Wednesday 11 April and on Sandside in Scarborough near the old police box all day on Thursday 12 April.

Staff will be on hand to explain what the programme involves and the strict legislation they work under. People will also be able to meet some of the birds of prey that are used to deter and scare away gulls as part of the programme. Representatives from Scarborough Borough Council will attend the events to offer advice and talk about the other measures they are employing to reduce the nuisance caused by gulls, including raising awareness of the importance of not feeding the gulls and plans for a beach warden in the busy summer months who will advise the public about how to sensibly dispose of food waste and litter.

The 2018 disruption and dispersal programme, which for the first time includes Filey, follows a successful trial last year in Scarborough and Whitby, which focused on seafront and town centre locations, where evidence showed that nuisance behaviour from Herring Gulls is at its worst. The programme involves the removal of herring gull eggs and nests from buildings in the selected areas and the use of birds of prey such as Harris Hawks and Falcons as deterrents. It is just one of the initiatives employed by the council in a bid to combat the problems associated with gulls in coastal areas.

The council is also planning to collaborate with NBC Environment and the RSPB to develop a programme of educational visits to schools later in the year as part of a longer term strategy to educate the area’s younger generation.

Cllr Bill Chatt, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing said:

"The roadshows we held in 2017 were very successful, so we were keen to put them on again this year. They give us an opportunity to meet local residents, answer any questions they may have about the programme and most importantly, educate people about how changing human behaviour can make a positive difference. These measures aren’t about changing the traditional image of the seaside; they’re about trying to achieve a more manageable situation where gulls and humans can live more contentedly side by side."

Steve Owen, NBC Environment Commercial Manager said:

"As we saw last year, Herring Gulls have been a problem bird during prime tourist season in both Scarborough and Whitby. Gulls tend to return to the same nesting sites each year and with their offspring in tow. Building upon the work we did last year we should see a reduction in the number of gulls returning to breed this year.

"Herring Gulls have amber protected status and we’re not out to harm them in any way. Instead, we aim to modify their behaviour through the use of non-lethal falconry and egg and nest removal. Just the presence of predator species is enough, gulls are intelligent birds and will not settle in an area where they think there’s an active population of raptors. We’re now entering the next phase of a 3 year programme, its important this long term project continues to see its full effect."