Tackling Nuisance Gull Activity in Urban Locations

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As we approach the end of the Gull breeding season, we reflect on a year made more challenging by legislative changes, and extended breeding periods brought about by warm, dry conditions in May.

Herring Gull Sitting

Gull populations have been steadily increasing in our towns and cities over the last 15-20 years. With more and more gull nests present in areas where people live or work, sites or equipment that need to be checked by maintenance staff are obstructed, either partially or completely, leading to a range of health and safety problems.

The main species, the Herring Gull, has a clearly defined breeding season and new colonies form in a consistent and sustained manner. Increases can be slow to occur initially but then it is not unusual for a colony to double in size each year if there are enough nesting sites available. If not controlled properly a Gull colony not only increases in size fast, but the associated problems increase dramatically as there becomes more competition for space and food.

How Do We Control the Gull Population?

Gulls are protected under the 'Wildlife and Countryside Act' meaning that we cannot interfere with the adult birds or the young.

Therefore, the most effective way of addressing this type of seasonal issue is by preventing or reducing the amount of breeding which takes place.

With over 30 years of experience in Gull and Pest control in London and the Southeast, Van Vynck we can deliver a professional and efficient service to ensure that nuisance Gull activity is drastically reduced and that the Gull population is controlled within your area.

We will always start with a free site survey to determine the best method of tackling Gull control and will deliver a full report and action plan including detailed reasons for why we’ve selected a particular method.

One of our services is the installation of proofing measures which we believe is the most effective and practical way of reducing the amount of Gull breeding. Unfortunately, however, many locations are not suitable for the installation of proofing measures. Proofing also has the disadvantage of displacing the problem onto neighbouring sites.

We are also able to provide a fully sustainable and effective population reduction and management program, designed to interrupt and break nesting patterns.

Herring Gull On Car

Van Vynck’s Population Reduction Programme

Our programme comes in two stages - monitoring and removal:

Monitoring - Monitoring of adult Gulls is introduced at the start of April and is used to map the locations of the nest sites and determine hatch sites. More importantly, it is used to prepare an application to Natural England to obtain a license to carry out the removal. This will only be issued if we demonstrate that we have:

  • Considered all other viable methods and ruled them out as impractical.
  • Shown that the work required is in order to ‘Preserve Public Health or Public Safety’

Removal - The removal of eggs and nests is carried out as close as possible to the hatch date without the eggs actually hatching which is incredibly effective. This part requires a 2-3 man team in most cases with access to the sites, either via roof access, MEWPs (mobile elevating work platform) or a rope access team.

This method works in reducing numbers over several seasons as older birds die off and are not replaced by new young. A fully executed programme lasts 22 weeks and must be carried out once each year.

Van Vynck carried out numerous successful breeding reduction programs in 2019 and will begin surveying new locations between now and the end of February in order to start monitoring in March 2020.

The application process is quite lengthy; therefore, we would recommend that anyone looking to Introduce Gull management procedures in time for next year’s breeding season get in touch online or call us on 0800 731 7462 as soon as possible to arrange a free site survey or visit our website to see the range of other services we provide.

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