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: November 2021
This year, Bath and North East Somerset Council were in a pilot with Natural England to trial a different approach to licensing in relation to taking action against Gulls.
Gulls cause real issues to residents of Bath and the surrounding towns, but we have to balance that with the fact that the gulls are a protected species, and as such, the gulls and their nests are protected. Lethal actions (including nest and egg removal) therefore would normally constitute offences under law, and licences to carry out lethal actions are issued as a last resort.
In order for us to comply with the licence, officers assessed whether lethal action was proportionate in order to preserve public health or safety, and also needed to be confident that non-lethal measures have tried, or would not work.
The vast majority of reports by members of the public this year cited noise or gulls causing mess or swooping down on people and pests as the reason that they requested intervention. Examples given by Natural England of what are not justifiable reasons for taking action are gulls swooping on pets; and on people but not making contact. Also, nuisance is not deemed to be a reason for lethal action (including the removal of nests and eggs). If one of the key reasons for requesting action under this programme is continued sleep disturbance, information relating to what negative health effect that has led to.
Prevention is always preferable to cure, and there is still an opportunity to prevent gulls nesting on your roof, we advise householders to visit our gull information document named "Urban Gulls, how to stop them nesting on your roof" in the documents section of this webpage and to take steps early this autumn and winter to prevent future nests from being built on your roofs.
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).