Call for flat roof owners to help fight gull problem

Great Yarmouth has been experiencing lots of gull problems this summer PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Beccles has seen a rise in gull numbers, causing issues for residents. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Owners of flat roof buildings have been called upon to help in the fight against gulls in Beccles as numbers continue to rise.

According to experts gulls are moving inland and favouring urban destinations to nest, due to destruction of their natural coastline habitat.

Towns have found it difficult to move the birds on once they are settled due to their protected status.

In Monday's meeting of Beccles Town Council, councillors voted in favour of a new strategy to deal with the growing gull problem in the town.

Last September a drone survey was carried out aimed to reveal nesting spots in the town but yielded limited evidence.

Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Former mayor, Richard Stubbings, councillor, said a second drone survey would be, "another waste of £350".

"The last time we did the drone survey all we achieved was lovely photos of the town, another survey will achieve nothing," he said.

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However, fellow councillor, Graham Catchpole, suggested a plan of action centred on advertising and educating flat roof owners about the need to install deterrents like spikes and long spikes on roofs was a better option.

The proposal was voted in favour by councillors, despite mayor Barry Darch, telling the committee spikes have not been successful on his own house.

Barry Darch, mayor, said: "On my roof the gulls are between the roof and chimney, we have inserted spikes and longer spikes in the gap, but they still remain. We are looking for a new solution."

Gulls have been a problem in the town for a number of years.

In 2009, residents in Gosford Road and Fair Close said flocks of nesting gulls had made a home at the former Fibrenyle factory - and were making their lives a misery.

One said they could be heard screeching from 3am and the colony increased each year.

Seagulls fighting for chips on Norwich MarketByline: Sonya Duncan

Urban gull swooping for food - Credit: Sonya Duncan

All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

This makes it illegal to intentionally or, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, recklessly injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

How to deal with gulls

Dr Ross-Smith's tips to deal with gulls.

  1. When you have food, if you stare at the bird it will know it's been spotted, and back off.
  2. When approaching a bird, if they are getting nervous they tend to make alarm calls and squawk. This might be a sign that they are protecting their nest, so be wary of a dive attack and move away.
  3. If you have a chick in the garden, best to leave it alone and avoid going near it.
  4. They are likely to be most protective during the May to July breeding season. Their squawking is often to communicate with the young and ward off threats - such as predators.
  5. Put food in the bin. If gulls can access food easily, they are more likely to hang around.