Action needed to end Kirky’s gull pr0blem

A Townhead woman says she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in months as seagulls continue to cause misery across Kirkintilloch.

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Thursday, 13th August 2020, 11:31 am

Last month The Herald reported how gulls nesting at flats in Loch Road and near the miners’ club in the town have been dive-bombing local people.

It is thought the birds were protecting their young as they particularly aggressive towards people out walking their dogs.

East Dunbartonshire Council stated at the time it does not have a statutory responsibility for dealing with wild birds, nor does it have enforcement powers to require property owners to deal with seagulls on their property.

Seagulls are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and residents have to employ the services of licensed contractors to offer advice and assistance.

However, one Townhead woman says the problem has been growing for years and decisive action is now required, with the onus being removed from individuals.

Anne Goldie said: “Seagulls have been a problem in the Townhead area over the last 5 to 10 years, with increasing numbers, noise pollution and aggressive behaviour.

“Dive bombing seagulls are making people’s lives a misery and the sheer numbers and noise they make is having a severe impact on the mental health and well-being of local residents.

“Personally, for the last six months I have not had one full night’s sleep. I sleep with earplugs in and I’m continuously awake or woken up between midnight and 5am, this is not sustainable.

“This is the same for others in my household, many neighbours and local residents I have spoken to as hundreds of seagulls are screeching continuously at all hours of the day and night.

“We have been told to purchase and install our own deterrents but the magnitude of the problem goes beyond what I can do as an individual.

“As a serious public health issue we think the council needs to stop washing its hands of the issue and take decisive action.”

With its hands seemingly tied by legislation The Herald asked the council if it would like to see seagulls lose their protected status so it had more freedom to act.

Thomas Glen, depute chief executive - Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, repeated: “The law protects all wild birds - including gulls, their nests and eggs - under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which is not within the council’s remit to amend.”

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has urged the council and residents to work together with Scottish Natural Heritage to find a satisfactory solution for both humans and the wildlife.

She said: ““I have been helping constituents throughout Kirkintilloch with the issue of increase gull presence around their homes.

“Residents are rightly concerned about the impact these gulls are having on their properties, the environment and their surroundings.

“Whilst It is correct that we have stringent animal welfare protections in Scotland and these should continue to be upheld, there are options open to residents and for the local authority to engage with.

“I would encourage them to work with Scottish Natural Heritage who offer a range of solutions in seeking to uphold the rights of my constituents whilst also protecting Scotland’s wildlife.”