Great Yarmouth Borough Council asks public to help cut gull nuisance in residential areas
ARE you feeding the gull problem? That's the question to householders as part of a new awareness campaign by Great Yarmouth Borough Council to reduce nuisance from gulls in residential areas.
Gulls are legally protected as wild animals and the council has no responsibility for the control of gulls. While most people associate gulls with the town centre, the majority of complaints about gulls are actually from suburban areas of the borough, where deliberate feeding by some residents is supporting unnaturally large breeding colonies.
Gulls choose to nest and breed in areas with ready access to food, so reducing access to food and disposing of waste responsibly is the most effective and sustainable way to cut gull numbers and the nuisance they cause in any given community.
The social media campaign highlights visually the direct link between the act of feeding gulls and the nuisance colonies cause in suburban areas, asking "Are you feeding the gull problem?" and advising householders "Don't be #gull-ible".
Through raising awareness, the eye-catching campaign aims to help reduce gull-related issues that affect people's home lives, such as noise nuisance keeping people awake in the early hours, messing of cars and laundry, and aggressive behaviour from gulls protecting nests and fledged chicks.
A leaflet with the same clear message has also been produced for Environmental Services officers to distribute in a targeted way in residential areas when complaints about gulls are received.
The campaign is going live as gulls consider nest sites for the 2019 breeding season, complementing the pre-existing poster campaign in the town centre, where the message is still "Feed the bins, not the birds".
Cllr Carl Smith, chairman of the environment committee, said: "Gulls are intelligent, social birds who choose to nest together with close access to food. If there is less food about, gulls lay fewer eggs or go where there are richer pickings. In recent years, gulls have spread into some suburban areas due to people disposing of waste irresponsibly and, unfortunately, deliberately feeding gulls.
"While there is no offence attached to the feeding of any species of bird on your own property, we ask residents who choose to do so to be considerate of their neighbours, to dispose of waste responsibly and not to over-feed. Where issues of over-feeding are reported to us, we visit the householder and wider area to provide advice, and we've been successful with this approach.
"Often, the householder does not realise that the feeding of gulls, whether in gardens, parks or on beaches, supports unnaturally large breeding colonies which in turn cause upset in the wider neighbourhood. Our new campaign and leaflet makes clear the link between cause and effect, asking those people to pause and consider whether they are, quite literally, feeding the gull problem. We hope for public support to reduce the gull nuisance for communities."