One huge cause of the gull menace is the availability of food. Gulls are clever creatures - if they sense a food source, they will populate that area to obtain food for themselves and their young.
Where are the best food sources? In town and city centres where food scraps are readily available from a combination of litter, food business waste, and rubbish put out by residents which is why places like Bath are great places for gulls to gather and feed. Although we have no responsibility to control the local wildlife population, the Council is carrying out a range of measures to tackle the problems caused by gulls.
But it is local people and visitors who have the biggest part to play cutting off the food source of gulls and any other animal likely to make our streets a mess, like foxes and rats. We've put together some of the ways you can help tackle the gull menace.
Action One - Use your household food waste container
Gulls, foxes, rats and other animal have an excellent sense of when food is contained in a black rubbish sack. Mouths, beaks and claws can slash through the plastic in seconds creating a food source and mess in seconds. The sealable food waste container provided as part of our food waste collection service is animal proof. Although food waste participation rates are good, they are nowhere near 100%. People can eliminate a gull food source by simply recycling their food waste.
We've also distributed over 2,000 resuable, sealable rubbish sacks to households in the city centre. These are animal proof and prevent them from creating mess.
Action Two - Don't feed animals and birds in parks, open spaces, and on the streets
It might feel like you are doing your bit for animal welfare by throwing down stale bread and food leftovers. But this just encourages gulls to swarm around the location well after the scraps have gone and pester other people for food. Most animals and birds do not need human help for their food source - gulls, for example, normally feed on insects, earthworms, and the like.
Remember - throwing down food on the floor is littering and you could be fined £75 if you are caught by Council Enforcement Officers.
Action Three - Put your food litter in the bin, don't drop it on the street
How many times have you seen a crisp, leftover sandwiches, or cakes on the floor on the street? Every food leftover is like a magnet to gulls and animals, who remember the location of the food source and hang around until the next offering. Put your food litter in the nearest bin - in Bath city centre we now have 55 new bins which are impregnable to gulls and animals.
Remember - if you litter you could be fined £75 if your are caught by Council Enforcement Officers.
Action Four - Report to Council Connect litter hot spots
If you see a litter hot spot which could become a target for animals and gulls, let us know as soon as possible and our Neighbourhood Teams will deal with it. You can get in touch with us via Council Connect. The simplest way of contacting us is with your mobile smartphone via Twitter. Open your Twitter app, take a picture of the mess, give us some location details, and contact us via @ccbathnes
Action Five - Put up a Don't Feed the Animals poster
If you are a business or a member of the public who wants to help spread the word about the campaign.You can also download and print your own poster using our free PDF.
Action for businesses
Local traders have their part to play too. The message for them is simple - put your trade waste out at the agreed time. We've taken a tough approach to those businesses who have broken the rules and fined those who've failed to listen to our warnings.
Our main page on gulls give more information about the services that the Council provides to tackle the problem. Just click the 'Gull' menu option on the left hand side of the screen.