A council in Scotland is taking the unusual measure of involving the public, even local schools, in its bid to tackle the on-going menace being caused by dive-bombing seagulls.
Fife Council already has a pest control contract in place to specifically deal with the pesky gulls, but they still received around 100 calls from distressed individuals in 2017, and numerous more ‘requests for advice’, with ‘aggressive seagulls’ swooping down on shoppers carrying food. The issue is particularly bad in Kirkcaldy town centre and waterfront, but is exacerbated by individuals deliberately feeding them, and has resulted in national publicity in newspapers like the Scottish Sun.
The key to the new initiative is to launch an education campaign aimed at stopping people dropping food waste. It will also go hand in hand with the raising of ‘No Feeding The Gulls!’ signs and the handing out of information leaflets, requesting people not to encourage the seagulls.
And the council has warned that it will increase community patrols and that it will take action on littering through fixed penalty fines. Mark McCall, safer communities manager with Fife Council, told Fife Today : “The most sustainable way to approach this is to effect a change in behaviours. Seagulls are attracted to areas where food is available and easy to access; so our aim for this year is to raise awareness amongst the public that feeding the birds, leaving food waste outside and dropping litter will encourage them into our town centres. Officers will work within schools to educate on public health issues associated with littering, and will engage with commercial premises to ensure food waste is effectively managed.”
Kirkcaldy Central Councillor Alistair Cameron said: “The education part is important, but what is more important is how it is enforced. Just on Sunday I saw an elderly gentleman emptying food out onto the grass. I was horrified.”
The local authority actually has no statutory responsibility to control the gull population, but said that there is expectation in the local community that it does.