EIR Request - Seagull Plans

Request 101003377505

Following another seagull attack in Elgin, I would like to know what you plan to do about these huge and dangerous birds. No amount of creativity with the levelling up funding will improve Elgin while these terrifying beasts swoop over the city.

Response 11-09-2023

As you may be aware, eight anti-seagull devices were installed in Elgin following Elgin Councillors agreeing to spend £18k from the Elgin Common Good Fund on sonic devices that deter the birds from nesting and breeding. The devices were sited on New Elgin, East End, West End, Greenwards, Seafield and Bishopmill Primary Schools plus the Osprey flats at Pinefield and Moray College, Linkwood.

The sonic devices  were installed in late March 2023 and were in place for 14 weeks. The devices were also supplemented  by flying two hawks in the areas in early mornings and weekends, out with school hours. The feedback after these devices were installed was that there was a marked reduction in gulls nesting in these areas (as much as 70% reduction). The Council has also provided seagull proof bins to various locations throughout Moray, as part of a 3 year programme at a cost of £44k.

The Moray Council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls and cannot force the owners or occupiers of buildings to take appropriate action to reduce gull numbers. However, where the Council is the occupier of a property where gulls are causing nuisance the Council does have a responsibility to resolve the issue. In such cases, action will be in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which allows authorised persons (the building owner) to take action against the great black backed gull, the herring gull and the lesser black backed gull where there is a threat to public health and safety and all other possible solutions have been tried

The aforementioned solutions although not 100% effective, show that the Council is taking reasonable steps to try and deter seagulls , which has also been supplemented where necessary by nest, and egg removal from Council owned properties, In 2023 £29k was spent on gull prevention measures that included removing  75 nests and 95 eggs under licence from Council houses, all in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, with Nature Scot licences applied for by the Council as Landlord on each occasion. Measures were also taken to deter gulls from our Public Buildings , with £22k  also spent on gull prevention measures to 13 Council owned buildings in Elgin during 2023.

The Council will also  consider future gull prevention measures Moray wide for 2024, which has seen over £100k spent during 2023.

I trust that this reassures you that Moray Council have taken and will continue to take  reasonable steps to deter gulls in Elgin and other areas of Moray.

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