Urban gulls are an issue for many towns and cities throughout the South West. Whilst we can action situations that may attract gulls, such as poor house-keeping within premises, there is no legislation that enables the Council to control them effectively.
Update: 7 March 2017
Following on from the success of last year, the Council in conjunction with NBC Environment is repeating its programme of egg and nest removal. The locations/wards eligible for free treatments are:
- The former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton
These locations have been chosen as a result of evidence which suggests large or increasing populations of breeding gulls.
At the moment (early March), gulls will not be building nests but will be pairing up and looking for potential nesting sites.
If you are a resident or a business in one of the above areas and you believe that may have a problem with gulls nesting on your roof as we move into April, then you can contact NBC Environment on 0800 169 9646 to register an interest in having a treatment from April 2017. Alternatively you may submit your request using the online form.
Further information about our treatment programme, including signs of nesting activity, can be found in our FAQs.
What areas specifically get free roof treatments? How have these areas been chosen?
Areas which qualify for the free treatments are: the Bath wards of Abbey, Kingsmead, Newbridge, Twerton, Westmoreland and Widcombe.
The former Welton Bibby factory site in Midsomer Norton is also being treated as well as some Council owned buildings in the city centre of Bath.
These locations have been chosen because evidence confirms large or increasing numbers of breeding pairs of gulls.
I live in one of the identified areas and I think there are gulls nesting on my roof. How and when should I request a roof treatment?
Gulls will typically start nest building in mid-April so start looking to see if you can see any nesting activity on your roof.
Treatment cannot be fully booked until there is confirmation that a nest has been built. We appreciate that it can be difficult to do this when you may not be able to see your entire roof.
Some useful indications that a nest maybe present are:
- Increased activity, with gulls travelling back and forth with twigs and nesting material.
- The nest is formed in two to three days, after which one of the pair will be seen sitting the nest.
- In the early stages, you will see a pair sitting close together, usually close to where the nest will be formed.
- You will also often see an increase in aggression from the adult gulls swooping at anyone or anything that gets too close.
Our contractor, NBC Environment, will need permission from the property owner before they access a roof. They also need to make sure that your roof can be accessed safely. Access will be by using ladders or a cherry-picker.
If you think there is a nest on your roof, please contact NBC Environment on 0800 169 9646 or complete the online form.
I received a treatment last year and I would like to have another treatment this year. Do I still need to register with NBC Environment?
Yes please. Whilst NBC Environment will have records of last years visits which will help them target their treatments, it is important that previous customers still ring in or complete the web form so that any details can be updated.
I live outside the designated areas. I know there are gulls in my area but I can’t get free roof treatments – why not?
The Council is prioritising its funding on those areas where there is evidence of a large population of breeding pairs or where there is evidence of a significant increase in the number of breeding pairs.
What does the roof treatment actually involve?
It involves the removal of the substantive structure of nests and any eggs through accessing your roof using a mobile platform. The contractor will firstly assess whether it is safe for the treatment to be completed and if so, continue.
If the nest is very difficult to access then it is possible that the treatment will not be able to be completed.
The roof will be revisited on a 21 day cycle to check if any further nests/eggs are present.
How much will this cost me?
The gull nest and egg removal treatment will be free if you live in one of the designated areas. Any further proofing treatments will be charged by NBC Environment at a discounted rate.
Will you be using hawks?
Yes, the contractor may use hawks to deter the gulls away from roofs whilst the treatment is being undertaken.
How much has this campaign cost?
The Council invested £85,000 in 2016/17 and will be investing £57,000 in 2017/18 in this campaign.
How will you measure the success of the campaign?
The contractor will be providing up to date information on how many treatments are being completed, how many nests are being removed and how many eggs are being removed in each area. We will also be contacting customers to gauge whether they believe improvements have been achieved for them as a result of the treatments.
Last year 105 premises received at least 3 visits and1150 eggs and 469 nests were removed. A telephone survey of 32 customers was carried out and opinions were generally very positive.
How do you know this is the best way of tackling the issue?
These techniques have been used by other local authorities who have similar issues with gulls.
What harm do gulls do?
Gulls are wild animals and consequently can become aggressive especially during the breeding season.
When do they cause most problems and why?
Gulls tend to cause problems during the breeding season when they can become noisy and aggressive in protecting their young.
Is the gull population growing year on year?
The gull population in B&NES has experienced an average increase of 11 breeding pairs per year since 2012. This is a reduced growth rate from previous years (Rock, 2015).