Urban gulls are an issue for many towns and cities throughout the South West. Whilst we can action situations that may attract gulls, such as poor house-keeping within premises, there is no legislation that enables the Council to control them effectively.
Update: May 2020
An application was made by NBC Environment in March 2020 to Natural England for a licence to kill or take any wild birds or their eggs; use a prohibited method; or to disturb wild birds listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for the purposes of public safety. This licence is necessary to carry out egg and nest removal treatments involving both Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed gulls which are the breed of gulls typically found in Bath & North East Somerset. Natural England confirmed that they were operating at a reduced capacity in light of the pandemic which would have an impact on the speed at which applications were processed. They also confirmed that, pending a decision on the licence application, the intended actions could go ahead subject to compliance with conditions set out in section 4(3) to 4(6) of the 1981 Act. In consultation with the Council, NBC Environment went ahead with the treatment programme ensuring that all required conditions were met.
Unfortunately, the licence application was subsequently refused on 18 June 2020 and any remaining treatments were immediately cancelled. By this point in the season, all sites had been visited at least once and only a small number of eggs and nests remained. NBC Environment will continue with a programme of falconry treatments, as this continues to be beneficial in terms of disrupting the gulls and can be carried out without the need for a licence.
We advise householders to visit our gull information pages https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/pests-and-infestation/gulls, and to take steps this autumn to prevent future nests from being built on their roofs as prevention is always preferable to treatment.
What harm do gulls do?
Gulls are wild animals and consequently can become aggressive especially during the breeding season.
When do they cause most problems and why?
Gulls tend to cause problems during the breeding season when they can become noisy and aggressive in protecting their young.
Is the gull population growing year on year?
The gull population in B&NES has experienced an average increase of 11 breeding pairs per year since 2012. This is a reduced growth rate from previous years (Rock, 2015).