Posted: Tue 1st Aug 2023

£20,000 scheme to control seagull population in North Wales resort abandoned due to opposition from animal rights campaigners. /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Aug 1st, 2023

A £20,000 scheme to reduce the number of seagulls in a North Wales seaside resort has been abandoned. A business group had backed a project to control the gull population without harming or culling the birds.
The Rhyl Business Improvement District – put forward the funds three years ago for a scheme that would have targeted gull eggs before they reached the embryo stage – after a spate of attacks on residents and tourists. But the business-led partnership has stepped back from the scheme in the face of opposition from animal rights campaigners and potential negative publicity.
Councillor Brian Jones, who sits on the board of the partnership, explained why the scheme never moved forward. He said: “What you have to realise is there is a lobby of people who really care about seagulls, and they will get pretty upset if you start talking about (reducing the numbers), but there are two sides to the debate.
“There are people who love seagulls. Before Covid, the Rhyl Business Improvement District carried out an exercise and came up with a project in which you could control the breeding of seagulls.
“There are probably somewhere in the region of 500 nesting sites in Rhyl and the immediate area, and there was a legal solution, a liquid solution you can paint on eggs when they have only just been laid, so you are not killing anything, as the embryo hasn’t formed, and you can control the breeding.
“Five-hundred pairs (of gulls), so a thousand chicks times two or three times a year, that’s where your big problem comes from. Where we are now, the breeding season is well under way. The parents are looking for food and swooping or diving in as people are coming out of shops.”
One Rhyl resident, who asked not to be named, said there were too many gulls in Rhyl and neighbouring Kinmel Bay in Conwy.
He said: “They are like flying rats. I saw one swoop down and take an ice cream from a child in a pram. When I lived in Kinmel Bay, a woman was making her way to the local doctor’s surgery, and her face was covered in blood. One of the seagulls had attacked her. She had a head injury.”
He added: “These creatures create quite a lot of hassle, and I can’t understand how people can defend them. I’ve been told they won’t be reducing numbers in Rhyl because so many residents oppose it, and the council take notice of that, but they are not listening to people like me who don’t like the creatures. It’s about time something was done about them.”
All wild birds, their nests, and their eggs are protected under section one of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure, harm, or interfere with nests. Despite the law, there are special licences available under the act in which exceptions can be made.
Both Denbighshire County Council and Conwy County Council were approached for comment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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