TWO initiatives aimed at stemming the gull problem in East Devon resorts are now in full swing, following on from EDDC’s Seagull Summit last year.
A falconer is flying his birds in Exmouth, Sidmouth and Seaton to disturb the gulls’ urban nesting sites, while fish and chip outlets are starting to use stickers reminding customers not to feed scraps or left-overs to gulls – to stop them becoming a menace to people eating outdoors.
Outlets have a strip of self-adhesive stickers that are applied to food containers as they are handed to customers. These carry an image of a gull and the simple message “Please don’t feed me”.
The idea comes hot on the heels of another gull initiative in which Seaton, Exmouth and Sidmouth have linked together to employ a falconer to deter gulls from nesting on the seafronts at the three resorts. This joint scheme is funded by a grant from the Parishes Together fund.
Summit The latest project is the brainchild of Seaton’s Mayor, Councillor Gaynor Sedgwick, who first put forward the idea at EDDC’s Seagull Summit last autumn.
Since then, the stickers have been designed, approved and printed by EDDC. They will now be rolled out across the district through a large number of take-away food outlets.
Posing for photos with the new stickers at one of the participating outlets in Seaton, Councillor Sedgwick said: "I’m delighted to launch this joint initiative.
“Last summer, during a chance conversation with Ashley Mitchell, owner of Frydays, we came up with the idea of putting 'Do not feed the seagull' stickers on take-away boxes. This was endorsed by Seaton Town Council.
Example “During the Seagull summit organised by EDDC last year, I spoke about this initiative. This has resulted in EDDC funding the project, and is a great example of Seaton Town Council, EDDC and local businesses working together.
“Thank you to Mr Mitchell and the staff at Frydays who have already placed over 1,000 stickers on the boxes, and have been willing to be the first to join this initiative. We enjoy the gulls; they belong at the seaside and it is our fault that sometimes they are a nuisance. The stickers are a way of reminding people that they do not help the gulls or our community if they feed them".
EDDC is still encouraging building owners to protect their roofs against nesting gulls and use an authorised contractor to replace any eggs laid using dummy eggs. All businesses are also advised to keep their outside areas clear of rubbish and left-over food.