Community fund to beat seagulls

SHOPS and businesses in Exmouth could be asked to contribute to a communal war fund to battle the seagull scourge.

SHOPS and businesses in Exmouth could be asked to contribute to a communal war fund to battle the seagull scourge.

Town councillors last week debated how to deal with the problem, following complaints from businesses, residents and tourists about Exmouth's burgeoning seagull population.

Last May the district council employed pest control experts to report on the best way to tackle East Devon's increasingly aggressive seagull populations in its coastal resorts.

But, after a two-year study, it was found the measures could cost �90,000 and success was not guaranteed, leading many district councillors to brand it a waste of money.

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Despite that, Cllr Steve Gazzard said that the town council needed to be more 'proactive' and suggested that they take responsibility themselves.

He said: 'I've seen photos from the 19th century with people shooting sea gulls with large shot guns.

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"I am not suggesting that, as seagulls are protected, but we have to do something."

He said they could start by looking at where the main problem areas were, possible measures, costs and sources of funding.

"In the cafe quarter the problem is worse with swooping seagulls," he said. "Dive bombing visitors when they are sitting outside.

"We could ask shops and businesses to contribute and, because it is such a problem, I am sure many would be happy to."

Councillor May Hardy said that they should push for a by-law so all residents were compelled to use rubbish bins - while another suggestion to prevent the spread of rubbish was for 'seagull proof' refuse sacks.

Other measures suggested included replacing eggs with fake ones and ensuring buildings didn't have flat roofs, to prevent them from building nests.

Cllr Lynne Elson said it was unnecessary to produce another report as the district council's was thorough.

She added that guidelines had been issued since last year from the district council, which included not leaving rubbish outside for long periods - which some residents and businesses still ignored.

Cllr Trevor Cope said: "This is going to be expensive. We could be talking about �3-4 million."

The council resolved to look at the issue in more detail.

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