Scottish government ‘passes the buck’ on gull problem

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Seagulls are a major problem in the region

Mr Smyth has tabled a written parliamentary question in the Scottish Parliament.

It reads: ‘Ask the Scottish Government what measures it plans to take to tackle the problem of nuisance gulls in town centers in situations where growing gull populations are impacting the quality of life of residents . “

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan replied that it was the business of local councils or landowners.

She said: “Local authorities are expected to respond to legal complaints of nuisance on council property, for example when the dumping of bird droppings may have an effect on public health.

“The responsibility for controlling nuisance gulls on private property rests with the owner concerned, although local authorities can provide advice and assistance and have powers under environmental protection legislation to control them. nuisances. “

Complaints about birds have increased in recent months across the region.

The councils have no legal obligation or authority to take action against gulls, although some, like Dumfries and Galloway, have used methods such as the removal of nests and eggs and the use of birds of prey. to scare off gulls.

Removal of nests and eggs has had to be suspended due to the pandemic and new restrictions from the Scottish Natural Heritage mean it has yet to be reintroduced.

Mr Smyth believes the Scottish government needs to play a bigger role, including putting in place tougher waste laws that criminalize feeding gulls and direct support to fund gull protection on the buildings.

He said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Scottish government is just passing the buck on the growing gull problem in our city centers.

“In 2008, then Environment Minister Mike Russell promised to be ‘tough on seagulls and tough on seagull causes’, but in fact the government has stepped up protection for seagulls and now they don’t want to have anything to do with dealing with the nuisance caused.

“Just to say that it depends on the advice and the owners is just not enough. “


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