Parliament is being dissolved today, and there will be no MPs until the election on 7th May. This site/account was established while Don was a Member of Parliament.
Bath MP, Don Foster has welcomed the news today that funding has been secured to carry out more research into this pernicious problem. The funding marks a key moment in Mr Foster’s long battle for more research into the issue of urban gulls.
In the Budget, the Government has committed £250,000 to fund new research that will help tackle the problems that gulls are causing in cities and towns like Bath. The current number of urban gulls in the UK is unknown, but according to the latest report by Defra’s Chief Scientist the two commonest species alone total over 250,000 breeding pairs.
This research will improve the understanding of urban seagulls’ life cycles and behaviour so that authorities are better placed to tackle the problems they are causing, including by controlling urban seagull populations.
It will contribute to two of the objectives identified in Defra’s evidence plan for biodioversity and ecosystems, namely to “develop methods to resolve conflicts between wildlife and human interests” and to “improve the coverage , quality and accessibility and use of data on species…targeting conservation activity and better national and local decision making”.
Commenting, Mr Foster said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Government has finally committed funding to this issue. For several years people in Bath have been contacting me about this issue and asking for action.
“Urban gulls cause mess, noise and damage to property, and are very aggressive in the nesting season. There is not enough data to enable a strategic approach to the problem, and I have long been pressing for funding to be given so that progress can be made.”
Bath and North East Somerset Council also hosted its own summit on this issue last year to make residents aware of the measures being taken to combat the problem. However, despite techniques such as netting, spikes, bird scarers, egg replacement, gull proof rubbish sacks and trialling fire gel, the gulls continue to be a problem.
Commenting further, Steve Bradley Parliamentary Candidate for Bath added: “The gull problem costs council taxpayers a considerable amount of money every year. The news that long awaited research has been given the green light will please local residents and visitors to our lovely city, who are all affected by this problem.”
Bath MP, Don Foster, has welcomed budget announcements which will bring numerous benefits and opportunities to Bath, including good news for the Foxhill Housing Development.
The Foxhill Housing Zone has been included in a list of 20 Housing Zones which aim to kickstart development on brownfield land. These Housing Zones will be backed by government technical support and planning funding, brokerage and investment.
The Housing Zone would consist of two sites:
Mulberry Park (Formerly MOD Foxhill) – provision for up to 700 homes, up to 1000m2 B1 employment, up to 500m2 retail space, a single form entry primary school primary school, up to 3,500m2 education / community use , formal and informal green space.
Foxhill Estate – phased regeneration plans to deliver up to 600 mixed tenure homes and retail space
B&NES Council will also have access to cheaper borrowing at the Public Works Loan Board’s project rate for 2014/15 and 2015/16, increased priority for brokerage support from central government, priority access to expert planning and technical support from the HCA’s Atlas service and increased priority for bids to the local development order incentive fund.
Commenting, Don Foster said: “This is obviously fantastic news for Bath. The Lib Dem run Council has developed a strong reputation for planning and building, with the support and help that comes from being a Housing Zone, I believe this reputation will only be further enhanced.”
Further bonuses are that funding has been announced for more defibrillators in public spaces. Bath has already seen successful campaigning for these life-saving pieces of equipment. In more health news, the Lib Dem driven £1.25 billion of new funding for children’s mental health services was confirmed.
One final bonus is the further increase in the Personal Tax Allowance to £10,800 next year, rising to £11,000 in 2017. This means that almost 4 million people have been taken out of paying Income Tax altogether whilst delivering a tax cut of £905 for 27 million people.
Commenting further, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Steve Bradley, added: “I am happy that Bath will see many benefits from today’s Budget. The Lib Dems want to deliver a fairer society and increasing the Personal Tax Allowance and mental health funding are vital to this.”