Letter: Why won’t the council listen to people?

Horrified at state of some of Scarborough's streets caused by seagulls.
Horrified at state of some of Scarborough's streets caused by seagulls.

I am horrified to see the state of some streets in Scarborough caused by seagulls. It also makes me angry and frustrated.

Two years ago I wrote to the then MP for the Environment Owen Patterson concerning the issue we have with seagulls in Scarborough.

I also started an e-petition asking the government to seriously take into consideration the Health and Safety issues caused by this situation.

Firstly I received a letter from Defra informing me that “all wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; under this Act birds cannot be taken or killed, nor their eggs or nests [when in use or being built] be taken or destroyed except under licence!

It is that last phrase which was very interesting.

When, in the letter from Defra it advised me to look at Natural England’s publications, I discovered that in their paper entitled Rural Development Service Technical Advice Note 13 entitled ‘Birds and their control in non-agricultural environments’ it clearly states, under the section Legal Aspects, “Defra issues a number of general licences...Feral pigeons, herring gulls and lesser backed gulls are among the species listed on the general licences permitting action to be taken for the purposes of...preserving public health and safety.”

Why can’t the council take the above action and apply for a licence?

I attended the seagull conference in that same year and gave all this information to a councillor and asked the council why it didn’t do that.

Their feeble outcome was to provide better refuse sacks for residents living on streets where the refuse lorry couldn’t access. How will that possibly keep the gulls from reproducing year on year eventually ending in someone suing the council for slipping in the gull ridden streets. It beggars belief that that was the outcome of the conference after also being told by various companies who spoke at the conference that culling has to take place for any problem to be eradicated.

I also wrote to local newspapers in seaside towns round Britain including Scarborough asking what their policy was on dealing with seagull problems and guess what? I had no replies except for the Scarborough News writing an article.

I, and thousands like myself, plead with you to take this to Parliament and get whatever law changed.

Please look into obtaining a licence unless we want no visitors to the town at all.

Anne Pitts

Deepdale Avenue