Dumfries and Galloway politician accuses Scottish government of ‘passing the buck’ to seagulls


The Scottish government has been accused of ‘passing the buck’ in tackling the threat of seagulls in the region.

Birds have been causing problems in Dumfries and Galloway for years, with residents of Kirkcudbright saying their mental health was suffering from the noise the seagulls made.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth asked Environment Minister Mairi McAllan what plans the Scottish government has to tackle nuisance gulls – only to say it was a question for them. advice and owners.

The Labor MSP said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Scottish government is just passing the buck on the growing gull problem in our city centers.

“In 2008 then Environment Minister Mike Russell visited Dumfries promising to be tough on seagulls and tough on seagull causes but, in fact, the government stepped up protection for seagulls. and now they don’t want to have anything to do with dealing with the nuisance caused.

“The Dumfries and Galloway council tried to scare away the birds of prey and introduced the egg and nest removal program, giving a little breathing space to people who have nesting seagulls on their roofs.

‘Obviously this was halted during the pandemic and new restrictions from Scottish Natural Heritage place additional conditions on a license for such a program, but it is important that it is again fully operational and extended to the whole region. .

‘The Scottish government needs to revisit its pledge from 13 years ago and bring people together again to find a much better response, including tougher waste laws and direct support to fund gull protection on the buildings.

“It’s clear that the current strategy just isn’t working and is far from tough on anything. Just to say that it depends on the advice and the owners is just not enough.

In her written response to Mr Smyth, Ms McAllan said: ‘Local authorities are expected to respond to complaints of legal nuisance on council-owned property, for example where the deposit of bird droppings may have an effect on the population. public health.

“The responsibility for controlling nuisance gulls on private property rests with the owner concerned, although local authorities can provide advice and assistance and have powers under environmental protection legislation to control them. nuisances. “

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