Seagull deterrent purchased after council is inundated with complaints about pesky birds

PUBLISHED: 17:30 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:36 26 July 2019

A seagull in Sidmouth. shs 14 18TI 0936. Picture: Terry Ife

A seagull in Sidmouth. shs 14 18TI 0936. Picture: Terry Ife

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A new seagull deterrent has purchased by the district council, after it received more than 400 complaints about the birds since 2010.

Data collated following a freedom of information request shows last year had the highest number of complaints made to the council about seagulls since 2010, with 66 submitted.

While East Devon District Council (EDDC) has not spent much money on managing the gulls - bar 'minor' spending on council-owned buildings, the authority said it has undertaken 'useful work' to lessen their impact.

A spokesman said: "We have focused on commercial premises and their responsibility to manage their waste and proof their buildings.

"A number of the seaside town councils have employed a falconer and this has also been effective.

"We have provided educational signage on our seafronts and there is information available on our website and also on the internet.

"Our theme is increasing the understanding of the public that they are not actually helping the gulls themselves by giving them any human food and we want gulls to revert to their natural instincts with respect to food and nesting sites."

EDDC said it has recently invested in a seagull 'deterrent', which generates noises similar to a distress call.

The spokesman said: "We have used this to great effect in areas where large numbers of gulls gather, for example where there are persistent feeders who have not taken advice about changing their behaviour."

Anyone caught feeding seagulls could be slapped with an £80 fine.

The clampdown was introduced as a public space protection order (PSPO) in May 2017.

EDDC introduced the PSPO after calls for something to be done about the seagulls which were becoming increasing aggressive and were only being encouraged by people feeding them.

The ban also covered the town beaches in Beer, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth.

Complaints made to EDDC about seagulls, between 2010 and June 31 2019

- 2010 - 25

- 2011 - 40

- 2012 - 27

- 2013 - 32

- 2014 - 59

- 2015 - 64

- 2016 - 52

- 2017 - 52

- 2018 - 66

- 2019 - 16 (year to June 31)

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