Council says no to calls for a gull cull

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A council report has ruled that a gull cull “would not be possible” despite calls from across Whitby and the rest of the borough to take action against the birds.

Complaints about the gulls have been growing over recent years as they get more and more aggressive in their search for food.The Gazette has been told in the past that the gulls swoop to take food out of people’s hands while they are walking and in some cases people have been almost injured by them.

However, plans are afoot to improve signage on the seafront, which has been branded a “major contributor” to the problem of dive-bombing gulls, which have caused distress and havoc on the seafront and the centre of Whitby because that is where they percieve the food source to be. In a report which is set to go before Scarborough Borough Council next Tuesday, Coun Bill Chatt states that a widespread cull “would not be possible”.

His comments follow a call for action from a fellow councillor who vowed to push ahead with proposals for a “humane” cull, a call that was supported by hundreds of readers in a poll in our sister paper, The Scarborough News.

Coun Chatt, the cabinet portfolio holder for public health and housing, said: “I am aware of the concern of members and the general public regarding an apparent increase in the disturbance from gulls this summer.

“I have discussed this issue with officers and as a result a briefing note on the legal and practical issues affecting gulls was sent to all members. I would re-emphasise that the Herring Gull is a species that has a high degree of protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. In essence this means that a widespread cull, supported by some people, would not be possible.”

Cllr Jenkinson, who suggested the humane cull, has said he will motion the issue to be raised at a future meeting, and Coun Chatt adds the issue will likely be discussed again in the near future.