vote against plan to reduce number of Burnham seagulls
councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have voted against spending thousands
of pounds of tax payers money on trying to reduce the number of
seagulls in the town.
Members of the Town Projects Committee discussed the proposals
at their latest meeting after receiving complaints from residents
about noisy nesting gulls.
Paul Young, Chairman of the committee, explained that the issue
had been raised by a Burnham resident following an initiative
in Devizes in Wiltshire to tackle the seagull problem there where
the Council removes eggs from nests at an annual cost to taxpayers
of around £10,000.
Town Council Clerk Denise Emery said that although seagull numbers
had risen locally, they had probably reached a plateau due to
the availability of food and a lack of new nesting sites. She
thought that without regular effort over several years any initiative
to reduce seagull numbers would not have the desired effect.
Peter Burridge-Clayton told the meeting: "I'm not particularly
keen on looking further into this unless everyone does it along
the coastline. I don't see there is going to be much point if
they are not doing it in Weston - the seagulls will just come
from there. I'm all for very strong bin bags and education and
that sort of thing, but I don't think it's for this council to
actually start pumping lots of money into this and doing away
with seagulls given that it's a seaside town. I like seagulls."
Town Clerk followed up on this by reminding members that "we
have holidaymakers who like to feed the seagulls, and who see
this as a part of their holiday."
Nick Tolley agreed with Cllr Burridge-Clayton that "we are
in a different situation to other seaside towns and Bristol, as
our gulls are spread across the two towns and are not nesting
in just one place."
they are going to be sending the SAS up with machine guns and
hawks, I don't think we would ever be able to clear the problem
totally," he quipped.
would have to spend thousands of pounds on an initial survey to
site these things to start with, and probably employ marine ornithologists
and all sorts. I think that the outlay would be a crime compared
to the benefits of removing them."
resident Ann Popham, who was among the public attending the meeting,
said that a friend had replaced gulls eggs with china eggs, and
the female had sat there for long time but in the end flown off
and didn't return to nest at that site. The Clerk thought that
this solution wouldn't work as it required vast numbers of residents
to come forward to do this on their properties.
resident Phoebe Pearce added "the problem with seagulls is
that their breeding life is 30 to 35 years. If you allow a seagull
on your roof and it breeds once it will return every year, and
so will its young. We have employed pest control and they go up
there and deal with it and we don't have gulls nesting on our
roof anymore. Our problem is the people on The Esplanade sit in
their cars, they buy for themselves and the seagulls. Is it not
true that it is illegal to feed the seagulls on the Esplanade?"
Clerk clarified that there is not a by-law on the Esplanade that
enables Sedgemoor to fine people for feeding the gulls, but Mrs
Pearce thought that the Council should pursue this option.
Tolley said he doesn't want to "see the council invest too
much time or money into this project" and that any efforts
should "focus on educating the tourists and changing the
bin collection practices around black bags and putting them out
decided they are not in favour of a long-term plan to address
the issue, but they instead want to look at a solution in conjunction
with Sedgemoor District Council around stopping the feeding of
gulls. The decision is subject to a final vote at the September
full Town Council meeting.