Call to support gull nest removal scheme

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Residents and businesses in Stonehaven town centre are being urged to support a scheme to curb the seagull menace.

A nest removal programme over the last two years proved successful - but there has been a disappointing response to this summmer’s project, due to take place in May and June.

Aberdeenshire Council is putting in £1500 and the work will cost £6450.

Letters have been sent to properties in the town centre asking for support and outlining plans for removing eggs from rooftop nests.

The programme was introduced in 2017 and last year 328 eggs were gathered.

It is a joint initiative by the Stonehaven Town Centre Improvement Group and involves a number of other organisations - Stonehaven Town Partnership, Stonehaven and District Community Council, Stonehaven Business Association and Tourism Group, civic pride group Horizon, and the local authority.

A contractor is hired to carry out the work and makes three visits - at the end of May and during June at the time of the mating season.

The area to be targeted is streets leading from the Square with food outlets, and where gulls frequently swoop down on people in the search of scraps.

Stonehaven Town Partnership (STP) chairman Jim Stephen has called for residents and businesses to back the initiative.

He said: “There has been an improvement because we have been doing something about it. The minute we stop, it’s back to square one.

“It’s about civic pride and managing the problem and we would really like people to get behind this.”

Sheila Howarth, a committee member on Stonehaven Business Association and Tourism Group, said she would be happy to see the scheme going ahead but there were mixed views about it.

She said: “I think most people understand that the seagulls are a pest but a lot of people take the attitude ‘why should I pay when others are not’.

“I think it has to be all or nothing. I would like to see the council do the work and then bill all the residents and businesses, but I’m told they can’t do that.

“I think it should go ahead, but it needs to get everybody on board.”

Meanwhile, councillors have unanimously approved funding for a final two-year crackdown on Peterhead’s nuisance gulls.

Buchan Area Committee rubber-stamped an award of £12,800 to the town’s business improvement group Rediscover Peterhead.

The BID will now invest a matching sum to continue the removal of nests and eggs from participating properties.

A 2016 survey by Rediscover Peterhead revealed that 87% of respondents felt it was important to deal with the gull population in the town centre.

Last year the joint approach across an extended town centre area saw the removal of 541 nests and 1,168 eggs by pest control experts.