Residents unhappy over gull nest costs

editorial image

A council move to curb the seagull menace in Stonehaven has left some residents in a flap.

Officials are drawing up plans to remove gull eggs from rooftop nests in the town centre during the summer.

The local authority carried out the same exercise last year after complaints from local people and visitors about bird attacks.

Limited funds meant the nest removal area was limited but the initiative, carried out on behalf of the Stonehaven Town Centre Improvement Group, saw an improvement in the situation. It was funded by the council and a grant from the area committee budget.

However, this year the council is warning that if the project is to go-ahead - in May, June and July - then the bill will have to be met by the owners of businesses and properties in the area being targeted.

Each is being asked for a £50 contribution towards the overall costs, expected to be around £2150 a day covering three visits.

Letters have been sent to people in the town centre by Kincardine and Mearns area manager Willie Munro outlining the proposals, which will target a wider area. But some householders are unhappy about having to fork out for the cost of the egg removal.

One woman. who declined to be named, told the Leader: “I feel that the council should be responsible for funding this project if they insist on it going ahead.

“The council advised me that seagull attacks on children and adults constitute a public health issue.

“Consequently, I don’t understand why property owners should be responsible for paying for work to address a public health issue.

“The council is expecting owners of properties that don’t have gulls nesting on their roofs to contribute towards the cost. I don’t see why I should subsidise this when gulls don’t nest on my roof.”

A council spokesman said: “Gulls nesting and scavenging in the area’s communities can affect quality of life, including attacks on people, mess and noise. It’s an issue which we receive complaints about from residents and visitors.

“While the council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls, it does recognise the need to protect communities. However, it can’t do this alone, and everyone has a role to play in preventing problems.

“The letters were issued with the best intentions - to seek community support in tackling the problem. There is no obligation on property owners to take part in this scheme, but clearly the more who take part, the more can be done to tackle the issue of nuisance gulls. We were able to cover the cost of most of our work with local businesses and property owners last year, but given the success led to increased demand we’ve had to ask for contributions going forward.”