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Major swoop on gulls

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
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Major swoop on gulls

THE council has swooped on hundreds of seagull nests in a bid to curb the chaos caused by the birds across Dumfries and Galloway this year.

A contractor was brought in and has spent months removing 275 nests and 450 eggs from council buildings – after getting special permission to do so by NatureScot.

The majority of nests and eggs were recovered in Dumfries after 26 separate removal licences were granted by the natural heritage body, while others were picked up in Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbright, and Sanquhar.

Council buildings, including primary schools and community centres, have also been ‘gull-proofed’ by fitting roof spikes, wires or nets to prevent seagulls landing and nesting.

These locations include: Dumfries ARC, Loreburn Hall, Loreburn Primary, Georgetown Primary, Calside Primary, Newington Primary, Northwest Resource Centre, and The Waird in Sanquhar. Several lampposts in Castle Douglas, Dumfries, and Stranraer have also been gull-proofed.

This comes after the council committed to spending £83,500 on various methods of tackling the problem of an increasing population of seagulls swooping on people and causing distress to everyone from children and dogs to elderly tourists.

An update on the how the gulls project is progressing will be provided at the council’s communities committee next week.

A report produced by Sandra Harkness, the community protection manager, explained that the majority of the money allocated has been spent on the tackling the nuisance gulls issue.

She detailed how just over £67,000 had been spent on: 600 gull proof sacks – £1500; gull proof bins – £42,000; fitting roof spikes and nets on council property – £9148; egg and nest removal from council properties – £14,620.

“As of 31 December 2022, there was £16,731.10 remaining,” wrote the council officer. “This will be used for ongoing gull-proofing before the 2023 breeding season starts. It is therefore anticipated that the full £84,000 allocation will be used during 2022-23.”

The large amount of nests and eggs that were removed meant that the bill for this particular task was higher than expected.

Mrs Harkness explained: “Members will note that the spend on egg and nest removal was more than the budget for this activity, with £14,600 being spent against a budget of £10,500.

“However, the contractor who removed the eggs and nests also fitted roof spikes whenever possible as this was more cost-effective.”

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