Burnham-On-Sea, Berrow and Brean residents and visitors are being urged to stand up to seagulls to improve sea water quality and the general experience of visitors along our coastline this summer.

A campaign is underway called ‘Don’t feed the locals’ that is being led by Litter Free Coast & Sea Somerset, which aims to improve bathing water quality and decrease marine litter in Burnham-On-Sea and surrounding areas.

The campaign is raising awareness about the consequences of feeding seagulls – and the ever increasing amounts of seagull poop.

Coastal Community Officer Tanya Cox, right, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Feeding gulls causes them to associate humans with food and encourages the birds to dive and snatch food from people’s hands – a much simpler way for these birds to find food! Not only can this be a nuisance to those trying to enjoy the coast but it can be dangerous and cause injuries.”

“Gulls diets should consist of fish and invertebrates, not chips and ice cream. Feeding birds the wrong food will impact on the health of these iconic birds and creates a dependency on humans. Seagull faeces contains very high levels of harmful bacteria. More birds in the area means more faeces and when it gets into the sea, the bacteria is known to reduce the quality of bathing waters…meaning our children and water users are at risk as they swim and play.”

“This summer, local businesses are taking action. Look out for the ‘Don’t Feed the Locals’ campaign stickers in the windows of the Town Council offices, the Roundtower Guesthouse, Unity Holiday Park, Coffee Corner, the Pier, Esplanade Fish Bar, Bay View Café, RNLI station, The Jetty beach wardens office, Victoria Hotel, Burrs, Take 2, BOS Café, Tickle your Tastebuds, Momma’s Café, The Railway and more!”

“To avoid bird attacks and increasing gull populations in the area the campaign recommends you shield your food if eating outside, eat with your back against a wall where possible and do not, under any circumstances, feed the birds. Make sure that you dispose of all food waste properly, keeping all bins sealed to stop cunning seagulls from foraging through them.”

“We are very fortunate to have been donated some award-winning #BinStraps which have been recognised as one of the top 10 solutions to marine litter in the world. Litter Free Coast & Sea Somerset will be donating these to the first businesses that sign up to our new Business Awards Scheme that will be operational from early Autumn.”