Don Foster MP

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Don Foster secures DEFRA commitment to look again at urban gull research

September 6, 2023 by admin in News

Following a bilateral meeting Don Foster MP has secured a commitment from DEFRA Minister Richard Benyon MP to look again at research proposals to tackle urban gulls. The Minister will seek advice from the Chief Scientific Officer before making a decision.

Don Foster has for over three years been trying to get the government to take seriously the problems created in Bath and elsewhere by urban gulls. Other methods such as spikes, netting and birds of prey have shown to be ineffective at controlling gull numbers.

Commenting Don Foster said, “It’s clear that current methods aren’t working. We need proper research to identify why the gulls are so persistent so we can then devise ways of tackling them.

“Recently a bid for such research by Bristol University was rejected. Now the Minister has acknowledged that this is a serious problem and of considerable public concern in some places. I am delighted he has agreed to look again at research proposals.

Questioned about the cost implications of such research in the current financial climate, Don Foster suggested that local councils whose populations are affected by these problems may be willing to contribute a small amount each to the cost.

He commented, “Some councils are spending £100,000s each year to no avail to tackle the problem. Just a few thousand pounds on research to find methods that work would be a good investment.”

The Minister has also agreed to discuss the problem with the Environment Agency work to stop landfill sites being the main feeding grounds for many urban gulls.

“Until now the government seemed deaf to the concerns of so many people. At least the Minister is willing to listen to the arguments. It’s too early to say whether or not he will do the right thing and ensure this research is undertaken.”

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