Council advice on tackling gulls

By Ben Carey on 19 April, 2024

Businesses in Bath affected by gulls are being updated on the advice and support available from Bath and North East Somerset Council.

B&NES Council often receives complaints from people whose health, wellbeing and enjoyment of outdoor spaces are impacted by the birds’ behaviour.

Anyone who feels their health is being impacted by gulls should make a report via this webform.

However, local authorities can only take action in specific situations where public health or public safety is at risk, Gull species including herring and lesser black-backed gulls are protected by law. It is illegal to interfere with the birds, eggs and their nests without consent from Natural England.

The Council will apply to Natural England for a licence to allow removal of nests and eggs during the breeding season in cases where public safety is at risk.

The licence does not permit B&NES Council to take action in cases where people’s health or safety is not being threatened, for example where gulls are swooping on pets or people, causing noise nuisance or causing sleep disturbance unless it has required medical treatment.

The Council is also encouraging businesses and residents to seek professional advice on gull-proofing measures if they are undertaking any roof work or renovations to properties.

Permission from Natural England is not required to prevent gulls from nesting on roofs in the first instance. Anyone who is having roof work carried out before the nesting season should consider asking their contractor to deter gulls from nesting by proofing potential nesting spots, such as behind chimney stacks and parapets. Information on how to ‘proof your roof’ can be found on the Council website.

Businesses are encouraged to ensure there are adequate waste storage facilities and remove any accumulated outdoor waste to deter the gulls.

Councillor Tim Ball, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said, “We know that urban gulls can become a nuisance and even cause distress for people in some instances, however we are limited in how much we can do to solve this because it is illegal to interfere with the birds or their nests.

“We urge residents and businesses who are experiencing problems with gulls to ensure they aren’t making their roofs and gardens an attractive target, by removing outdoor waste wherever possible. It’s also advisable if you’re planning property renovations to get professional advice on building gull-deterring measures, such as spikes, into the works.

“We will shortly be applying to Natural England for a licence to take action in cases where gulls are putting people’s safety or health at risk. Anyone who feels they are experiencing a serious situation of this nature is encouraged to report it to us.”