Birmingham Mail

Unruly urban gulls wreaking havoc and ruining people's sleep across Midlands

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 19/07/2018 11:43:42 Conor Gogarty

Noisy gulls are depriving people of sleep in the Midlands.

Screeching gulls have been keeping Cheltenham residents awake, according to reports.

There have also been other instances across Gloucestershire.

Dozens of people from across the town said the noise has become a nuisance.

Our sister title GloucestershireLive reports one wrote "I'm really struggling to sleep".

Another said "they are seriously affecting my health".

People who wish to sleep with their bedroom windows open because of warm temperatures expressed frustration that the birds are making this impossible.

Former Cheltenham mayor, Councillor Klara Sudbury (LD, College), is part of a research group launched last month to clamp down on the gull population.

She said: "It's horrible for the residents kept awake at night.

"I live in Leckhampton, and we never ever used to have gulls in the area, but I was sunbathing in my garden a few weeks ago and there were about 100 gulls above my head. It's ridiculous.

"I always come home with a decoration on my car when I go to Shire Hall in Gloucester. We don't want Cheltenham to be like that."

The research group will take over from the town's 'urban gull forum', which Mrs Sudbury says "hadn't really achieved anything" in the last few years.

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She said: "We will be meeting every two weeks, whereas the urban gull forum only met a couple of times a year.

"Residents and councillors were feeling frustrated by it.

"We will mainly be looking at issues like gull-proofing food sources, tips and bins."

Mrs Sudbury thinks there has been success in removing gulls from industrial areas, but not in residential areas.

"It's a palaver because sometimes cars need to be moved and roads closed in residential areas," she added.

"It can be tricky to find the nests. Should we be doing more to help residents remove the nests themselves?

"We can't just say to the residents 'do it yourself' because absent landlords won't do it and the gulls will all go there.

"We want to look at taking away some of the challenges and barriers to tackling the problem in residential streets."

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One of the main tactics the council has used in a bid to reduce the town's gull population is oiling eggs to prevent them hatching.

It has oiled 422 eggs this year, mainly in Kingsditch Retail Park and High Street, Mrs Sudbury said.

People in one Tivoli street paid for a hawk to scare away the gulls - but Mrs Sudbury says this led to them moving to another street.

She said hawks are being considered as a solution to the town's problem, but added that they are expensive.

The budget for tackling gulls is £9,000 per year. The research group will look at whether this should be increased.

"I have always said I would support an increase if it was evidence-based," Mrs Sudbury said.

The council's enforcement manager Mark Nelson said: "There is no easy answer to the borough's urban gull issue, however we're considering a number of options or measures and their merits as part of the scrutiny process.

"Some of the options include continuing with the egg oiling programme, trialling hawks as a deterrent, and raising awareness with residents about how they can help us keep the population down."

Methods of doing this include not feeding the birds and ensuring any waste or refuse is secured.

The council was unable to confirm the town's estimated gull population.

19. heinäkuuta 2018 14:43:42 Categories: Birmingham Mail

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