Council to spend £25k fighting seagulls

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The scheme will remove gull nests and eggs from homes in the city (Picture by John Haslam)

A SCOTTISH council is spending around £25,000 to remove seagulls from an upmarket city suburb.

Edinburgh is running a year-long pilot scheme to remove eggs and nests from houses after residents of the Merchiston district complained the birds were making their lives a misery.

The trial has been welcomed by residents who say the seagulls are a health hazard and cause too much noise.

Campaigners presented the council with a petition containing hundreds of signatures and attended a council meeting looking into the matter.

Officials have been warned that the project will not get rid of the birds but will move them to neighbouring districts.

Councillors nonetheless agreed to trial the project to see if it would work.

Marianna Clyde, chairwoman of the Merchiston Community Council, said: “We are delighted with the decision today (wed) and hope that it will bring lasting benefit to people in the area after many years of suffering.

“A free de-nesting service was introduced in Dumfries last year, which was very successful and other local authorities are adopting such measures. Edinburgh is to be congratulated for this affirmative step in tackling the problem.

“De-nesting is a safe and humane form of gull control and we hope residents will take up the offer. The council intends to advertise it in the pilot area.”

Another campaigner Kay Smith added: “I am delighted with the way that the councillors listened to our arguments and by the fact that they are prepared to start the ball rolling, which will allow the council to gain experience in the running of such a service. In the fullness of time the service could be spread to other areas of the city.

It’s estimated that the trial could cost £25,000, although Dr Clyde believes this figure could be lowered.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie said: “We are looking to try and reduce the nuisance that gulls create in that area. We are also aware that there is a possibility that the problem might spread and want to see if that does happen.

“I am pleased that we are doing something to help the residents of Merchiston but we need to see how the pilot operates before we consider how to continue, or indeed, even extend it.

“There is a possibility of displacing the problem to surrounding areas. Finding funding for a one-year pilot won’t be easy but is doable. Extending it may be very difficult.”