Do we need a seagull cull in Sussex?

Seagulls in Hastings.'Hastings file photo SUS-181218-121354001
Seagulls in Hastings.'Hastings file photo SUS-181218-121354001

England could be set to have its first seagull cull in 40 years as Worcester City Council considers an application to Natural England so the birds can be shot.

The situation has prompted a debate on social media as to whether such a measure is needed in Sussex coastal towns.

Opinion seems to be divided locally with many people saying gulls are an integral part of living by the seaside while others claim they are a menace and that the numbers are too high.

In Worcester Councillors say that gulls are still proving to be a menace despite £30,000 spent on anti-gull measures last year. They say have tried many non-lethal methods, as well as anti-gull bins which work by covering waste with metal grilles or other barriers. Drones have also been used to seek out nests in hard-to-reach places.

If the council succeeds it will be the first place in England to carry out a gull cull since marksmen shot dozens of adult birds in Torquay in 1975.

Natural England have told the council gulls could only be culled as part of wider measures and only as a last resort.

In April there were reports of seagulls being shot and killed in Hastings.

Gulls have caused a problem in Rye in the past, even dive-bombing people in their gardens. It led to Rye Town Council putting up notices asking people not to feed or encourage the birds.

A spokesperson for the RSPB said: “All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

“This makes it illegal to intentionally or, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, recklessly injure or kill any gull or damage or destroy an active nest or its contents

“Government licences allow the killing of urban gulls only as a last resort, where a significant risk to public health or safety has been identified. While we understand that roof-nesting gulls can cause problems, we question the appropriateness of lethal control on a declining, red-listed species and highlight the need to comply with European bird protection law.”