Lyme Regis councillors consider seagull deterrents


TOWN councillors have once again considered measures to deter seagulls, which have become an increasing nuisance in Lyme Regis in recent years.

Having trialled using birds of prey to scare the gulls over Easter 2019, councillors were asked to consider this option again, as well as using bird repellent gels and bird spikes, or high-pitched audio bird scarers.

However, Lyme Regis seafront is considered a very wide area for these types of deterrents to work effectively, while the use of birds of prey is considered costly and only a short-term solution, as the seagulls usually return as soon as the larger bird has left the area.

Other suggestions have included charting a ‘dummy fishing boat’ offshore to draw the seagulls away from the beach and seafront, where they often cause a nuisance by stealing food from humans.

Concerns were also expressed about the potential cost of this idea, and that it would go against the spirit of the Public Space Protection Order in place on the seafront, which asks members of the public not to feed the birds deliberately.

The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Cllr Brian Larcombe, said that neighbouring resorts such as Sidmouth did not have such an issue with seagulls as they did not have as many takeaway outlets and al fresco dining areas as Lyme Regis, suggesting the problem would be difficult to solve unless this was changed.

Councillors decided not to move forward with any of the above deterrents for the time being, and instead have asked officers to look at the cost of ensuring all bins along the seafront are seagull proof.

Like all other wild birds, gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to intentionally injure or kill any gull, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

However, licences issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) allow control measures to be taken where there are public health or public safety concerns.

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Woodmead Halls