TRURO Cornwall TR3 6LQ
Tales of aggressive seagull ambush attacks in Cornwall has recently captured the imagination of many popular national newspapers, and has even drawn comment from the Prime Minister (himself a notable devotee of holidaying in the County).
As part of the response to what is rapidly becoming a real concern to many visitors to Cornwall cottage holidays, Truro City Council has become one of the first authorities to begin the counter-attack.
Armed with a paint product called ‘Flock Off’, a phrase very close to the words many people utter when they have their pasty nicked by an aggressive seagull, Truro council plans to fight back to repel the birds, albeit in a humane fashion.
Picturesque Truro, only minutes from The Valley’s luxury cottages, is said by one city councillor to be “under siege” from dive bombing birds, is to trial the substance which reflects the sun’s rays, dazzling gulls that venture too close and stopping them from swooping down.
The hope is that birds instinctively avoid landing on treated surfaces because they see the reflected UV rays as a potential threat. However the paint is completely harmless.
The first salvo of the fightback will see tops of lamp-posts and other vantage points treated. It will be used around the city’s main Lemon Quay piazza, where many people eat al fresco.
Truro deputy mayor Rob Nolan said the action is needed because the city is “under siege”. “It’s the main subject people complain about,” he said. He added that while it would not solve the problem, it was “something the council can do for the price of a few tins of paint” to reassure visitors.
Seagulls are an acknowledged nuisance in many towns and coastal areas in the Westcountry where they steal food and scavenge from bins.
On their website, Truro City Council “strongly urges” people not to feed the seagulls in an attempt to stop an artificially high population being created. However, the population of herring gulls in Truro has steadily increased since the 1970s, as has the number of complaints received by the council. Despite the nuisance that the gulls have become it is illegal to disturb eggs or nests during the breeding season or do anything that will cause suffering to seagulls.
Truro City Council’s decision to implement new measures to control the birds comes days after David Cameron’s admission that “there is a problem” with gulls in the region.
The Prime Minister told BBC Cornwall: “I think a big conversation needs to happen about this and frankly the people we need to listen to are people who really understand this issue in Cornwall, and the potential effects it is having.”