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Foster secures funding for urban gull research

March 18, 2024 by Don Foster MP in Don in Bath

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.

Don Foster in Red RibbonIn 2012, Mr Foster hosted a “seagull summit” for MPs and local government representatives from areas affected by the problems faced by urban seagulls and has declared himself “thrilled” by the news.

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.”

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