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Tackling gull issues could cost £80k

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Tackling gull issues could cost £80k

MORE than £80,000 could be spent every year on tackling the major seagulls problem in Dumfries and Galloway, including in Annan.

Council officers were previously asked to provide costings for implementing a series of stronger measures for reducing gull numbers across the region.

They have responded with a proposal of spending up to £83,500 on four different action steps.

These are: expanding the roll-out of gull-proof bins – £42,000; fitting roof spikes, wires and nets on council properties – £30,000; egg and nest removal/egg oiling – £10,000; and expanding the roll-out of gull-proof sacks to businesses – £1500.

The gulls issue is due to be discussed again at the council’s communities committee next Thursday where councillors will decide on whether to approve these spending options.

A report produced for the committee reads: “There are 42 gull-proof bins now situated across the region. The cost of each bin is £836 and there is a need for more of these, particularly in Annan, Sanquhar, Kirkcudbright town and Stranraer town.”

The report also estimates that 10-30 council buildings per year, depending on size and complexity, could be fitted with roof spikes, wires and nets, as part of the rolling maintenance and repair programme.

However, egg and nest removal, along with egg ‘oiling’ are also being considered. The latter method seals the shell and effectively sterilises the eggs.

The report reads: “Some gulls may succeed in nesting on proofed properties and there will be displacement from those properties to others in the estate, therefore for the foreseeable future, an annual budget would be required to keep our properties free of nesting gulls.

“Licences need to be applied from Nature Scot first, and if approved, an annual budget of £10,000 for this purpose could be used to prioritise buildings where there are vulnerable people, such as primary schools and nurseries.

“The Environmental Safety Officer, appointed in August 2021 to lead on gull management, would apply for the licences.”

Buildings in Dumfries have already been granted a licence in previous years, but council officers say that properties in other gull problem areas, including Stranraer, Annan, Kirkcudbright and Sanquhar, will be more complex and will take longer to gather the necessary information

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