SEAGULLS WERE FLYING high once more on the agenda in the Moray Council chamber this week as members sought answers on the perennial issue of what to do about them.
Hardly a street in Moray is unaffected by what is being seen as the increasing menace – now councillors are suggesting that the public should be educated in how they can rid themselves of the threat.
Leading the charge in Tuesday’s planning debate on the issue was Forres councillor George Alexander, who suggested that members of the public needed to become “proactive” by destroying the eggs of nesting birds on their property.
Councillor Alexander had particular concerns for the roof of Forres Academy, saying that gulls had been a major issue for many years – and the problem there was costing money in constantly having to patch up the roof being damaged by nesting gulls.
“There is nothing that you can do to gull-proof that roof,” the former teacher said, adding: “It is flat and they are always going to nest on it. The only way is for someone to go up there and prick the eggs – if the janitor is now allowed to do that, then this councillor is quite happy to do it.”
Councillors discussed a variety of measures to deal with the Moray-wide issue – but in the event were reminded by officials that given current financial constraints, no action could be taken despite their having a duty to act.
Councillor Alexander suggested said: “There is a lot of talk about shooting them or trapping them and that can put people off doing something. If someone sees Mr and Mrs Gull on their roof, they can quickly end up with a whole colony.
“All it takes is for them to be proactive and go up there and prick the eggs – and we should be encouraging people to do this.”
Anyone contemplating taking Councillor Alexander’s advice should note that the RSPB warns it is a criminal offence to kill, injure or take a gull, or destroy its nest whilst the nest is in use or being built.
In Scotland a general licence can be obtained giving permission to remove gulls and their nests – however, gulls being a nuisance through noise or damage to property are not regarded as legitimate reasons for control under the authority of a general license.
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