New buildings should be made seagull proof to control a growing number of the scavenging birds, an MP has said.
Conservative MP Oliver Colvile led a debate in Parliament on the problem, admitting he was prompted by a friend who had his chips stolen by a gull.
Anti-seagull measures taken in the past include spikes on seafronts and even hawks to scare them off.
Mr Colvile, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “We’ve got to make sure that when we build new buildings that we make it possible for seagulls to be discouraged from putting their nests in and all of that.”
But speaking ahead of the debate, Peter Rock, a researcher at the University of Bristol who has been studying the protected birds for more than 30 years, said new buildings were “only a tiny scrap” of options for seagulls to nest in.
Colonies of urban seagulls had more than doubled since 2000 and “pest control systems really don’t work”, he said.
Steve Double, the St Austell and Newquay Conservative MP, also spoke at the debate and said a cull of seagulls may be needed to protect coastal communities from attacks.
He also spoke about taking eggs from the seagulls, and said a national study of the birds was needed.
How to deter seagulls
- Don’t eat food out in the open when there are seagulls around
- Nets and spikes on buildings to deter nesting
- Gull-proof bins to deter scavenging
- “Super falcons” to try to stop “nuisance” seagulls disturbing people