PEOPLE in Worcester could be stopped from eating outdoors if tougher action is not taken to reduce the number of seagulls, a city councillor has warned.
There are currently more than 300 gull nests in Worcester, which Coun Andy Roberts, cabinet member for Cleaner and Greener City, fears could increase ‘seven fold’ to about 2,200 in the next few years.
Worcester City Council currently uses £5,000 of taxpayers money to tackle the city’s long-standing problem with reports of gulls stealing people’s food, making a mess on cars and scaring young children.
But Coun Roberts told members of the council’s scrutiny committee last Wednesday (September 3) more needs to be done as he believes Worcester could end up like St Ives where people are advised to eat indoors due to the threat of gulls.
“I see can what has happened in St Ives for instance where they have pretty much given in,” Coun Roberts said.
“Because people are attacked so frequently for food, the advice in St Ives is that you can’t eat outdoors and I don’t want us to get to that stage, so it will mean spending more money and extending to more nests.”
Coun Roberts highlighted Gloucester as another example as he said just three nesting pairs of black gulls were found in the 1960s, but now he said “they are in their thousands”.
The council has been using a Worcester-based pest control service in a bid to reduce the number of seagulls, which has decreased by a hundred in two years.
The contractor has been sterilising the eggs by covering the shells in a light mineral oil.
But the city is now set to step up its efforts, with a new strategy where people will be encouraged to report any nests they have spotted, so that a city-wide map can be produced.
Coun Roberts added: “We will see how much money needs to be spent, but what we don’t want to do is spend money because it looks good. We can’t ignore the problem as that would be dishonest.”
Coun Marc Bayliss, deputy leader of Worcester City Council, said it was an important issue in the city, which needed to be addressed.
“The issue of Gulls is particularly high on the public’s list of priorities,” Coun Bayliss said.
“We are going to make a renewed effort to agree some progress, while acknowledging that there is a practical solution which will eradicate Gulls as an issue in the city.
“We do think there is more that we can do to manage the issue and we are happy to commit to a greater effort and resources to do that.”
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