Some seagulls, and particularly herring gulls, are becoming more common in urban areas. The Council does not provide any service in relation to the control, removal or eradication of gulls. The purpose of this guidance is to provide guidance to householders and businesses on measures that can be taken.

Why are there so many of them?

Herring gulls are attracted by nesting sites on buildings and by the available food supply. Herring gulls usually build nests in May and lay 2 or 3 eggs. Eggs hatch after 3 to 4 weeks and the chicks fledge 5 to 6 weeks later. It is not uncommon for chicks to fall from the nest. If they survive the parent will continue to feed the chick and fiercely defend it from potential threats, including people.

Do they do any harm?

They tend to nest in colonies and can cause problems by damaging buildings, blocking chimneys and gutters, creating noise, leaving mess from faeces, and swooping at people to take food or protect their young.

What the law says

All gulls like most other birds, and their nests, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Act allows for the control of certain birds, including gulls, by authorised persons using specified methods.

The solution

Only licensed contractors should be employed to cull or disturb gulls, for example by removing their nests or eggs.

Deterrent measures are the best action to take first. Spikes, wires and nets can be used to protect vulnerable parts of buildings to effectively remove the nesting site. Where the nesting site can not be removed there is evidence that replacing eggs (with plastic ones) is successful as the birds will sit on the fake eggs until so late in the breeding season that it is too late to produce a second brood.

Implement good waste management to prevent gulls scavenging and finding available waste food.