PM calls for debate on Eastbourne’s seagulls

A seagull was trapped on Beeching Road on Sunday morning.
A seagull was trapped on Beeching Road on Sunday morning.
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The Prime Minister has called for a ‘big conversation’ on tackling aggressive seagulls following a spate of attacks on people and animals.

David Cameron said he wanted to take action after discussing the issue with Conservative MPs in Cornwall.

Seagulls killed a family’s pet dog in Newquay this week while in Liskeard a tortoise was pecked to death.

MPs in Cornwall are calling for the protected status of seagulls to be axed so their population in urban areas in seaside towns, such as Eastbourne, can be controlled.

Because seagulls are a protected species, their nests cannot be interfered with.

In his March budget, Chancellor George Osborne pledged £250,000 for research into ‘aggressive’ gulls. However, the project was dropped after May’s General Election.

Some species of gull, including the herring gull, have witnessed a decline in overall population in recent years. But their numbers have risen in some towns.

Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall this week, Mr Cameron said: “I think this is a very difficult subject and I think it is a dangerous one for the Prime Minister to dive in and come up with an instant answer with the issues of the protection of seagulls, whether there is a need for a cull, what should be done about eggs and nests and the rest of it.

“I think a big conversation needs to happen about this and frankly the people we need to listen to are people who really understand this issue and the potential effects it is having.”

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