York & North Yorkshire

Gull feeding fines in Scarborough ruled out

Seagull eating a chip Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Fining people for feeding gulls would not cut the problems they pose, the council has said

Fining people for feeding gulls on the Yorkshire coast would be "counter-productive", a councillor has said.

Godfrey Allanson, from Scarborough Borough Council, said fines could damage tourism and would not prevent "gull-muggings".

The council is introducing a number of measures to allay concerns over mess and noise, he said.

Some businesses had suggested fines as an additional option to help reduce the nuisance posed by gulls.

Anne Baker, from Winking Willys Fish and Chip shop on Sandside, said: "It is the only think I can think of that would keep them aware and stop people doing it."

Councillor Allanson said: "I can imagine it really backfiring if we started fining people especially children or someone new to the area.

"You only have to realise if someone gets a parking ticket they go away feeling disgruntled. I think the publicity for a seaside resort would be just too bad."

Image caption Gull proof bin bags are planned to try and prevent them tearing them apart in search of food

He added that education was the key to reducing the problem and there was no "quick-fix".

Measures introduced by the council include advising property owners on putting netting on roofs to prevent gulls from nesting, improved online advice, new reporting methods and providing gull proof refuse sacks for householders.

It also is planning new signage for sea front and town centre areas to advise people not to feed the gulls.

Both herring gulls and kittiwakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but the council said it was herring gulls which feed inshore that presented the biggest nuisance.

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