Gulls and litter - what to do?

THE RELATED problems of gulls and litter were discussed at Thursday’s meeting of Montrose Community Council in the Academy.

Reference was made to the pilot programme in Arbroath, in which a special gel is applied to surfaces favoured by gulls. The gel reacts on the bird’s eyes in such a way that the surface appears to be on fire.

It was hoped that if the experiment is successful the treatment will quickly be applied to Montrose.

However, it was recognised that all that this would do would be to transfer the problem to other areas.

Acting chairman Tommy Stewart agreed, adding that one of the biggest tasks is persuading the public not to feed gulls, and it was suggested that Angus Council might have the power to prevent its tenants from doing so.

Overflowing bins in the High Street were also mentioned, with gulls eager to peck at any discarded takeaway food container, whether it be thrown on the street or disposed of at a litter bin.

One suggestion was that large metal bins, as seen in some Scottish cities, might be employed.

These would have the advantage of being big enough to cope with large amounts of discarded wrappings, and also being impossible for gulls to enter.

However, it was not unanimously agreed that these would enhance the appearance of the High Street.

Councillor Mark Salmond recalled that beak-proof plastic bags for rubbish had been supplied to some users. The Review’s reporter said that over a number of years he had made visits to the High Street at about 6.30am, and that the number of bags pecked open by gulls had decreased significantly.

It was mentioned that Angus Council had unanimously ruled out a cull of seagulls, at which a member of the public retorted that the best solution would involve a rifle.

No quick-fit solution to the problem was devised, and it was concluded, albeit with a certain lack of conviction, that the best way forward was to educate the public not to feed gulls and not to leave food scraps lying about.