Seagulls are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, making it an offence to intentionally injure or kill any gull, or to take, damage or destroy any active nest or its contents.
Under some circumstances, there are actions that can be taken where Seagulls nest – when the nest is inactive, if this causes problems, for e.g. on the roof of a private dwelling. Also, if Seagulls cause a particular nuisance as a result of excessive feeding by residents there are some circumstances whereby action can be taken.
Speaking on this issue during a recent visit to Cornwall, the Prime Minister said ‘I think a big conversation needs to happen about this and frankly the people we need to listen to are people who really understand this issue in Cornwall, and the potential effects it is having. Reading the papers this morning about how aggressive the seagulls are now in St Ives, for instance, we do have a problem’
Some in Eastbourne may concur that there is a problem, but I am not convinced that there is legislation that could be introduced that would be effective, let alone popular.
Even though it may not always seem like it in Eastbourne, there is some evidence to suggest that the overall gull population is in fact decreasing. However, there is perhaps more that the local Council could do, particularly in the Town Centre and some other parts of the town, and I will pursue this with them.
In the meantime I urge residents and visitors alike to NOT FEED THE GULLS! this simply means they rely on this source, rather than seeking their food at sea, their natural home.