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Fines for feeding ‘aggressive’ seagulls

Katie Coyne03/05/2017 - 14:29

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Gulls can cause distress and minor injury
Gulls can cause distress and minor injury

Seaside residents or holiday goers could face an £80 on the spot fine if they deliberately feed seagulls near East Devon’s seashores and promenades.

East Devon District Council has issued a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to cover the town beaches of Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton.

The order, that came into effect on Tuesday 2 May, prohibits feeding or leaving food out for seagulls on the promenades, beaches or foreshore of the East Devon areas listed.

However, the fines are aimed at persistent offenders and particularly cafes and restaurants that encourage seagulls by not disposing of their food waste carefully.

Head of East Devon District Council, Mark Williams, said: ‘During every summer local residents and visitors to the town beaches in East Devon are often affected by the aggressive behaviour of seagulls…

‘On the beaches, members of the public can be affected by gulls stealing food, causing minor injuries and distress, as well as fouling places where people like to sit and eat.

‘It is as a direct response to this that we have introduced a prohibition on the deliberate feeding of seagulls with this new public spaces protection order covering our seashores and promenades.’

The council is also encouraging members of the public to inform it of any breaches of the order. The council’s environmental health team are also on standby to give help and advice to council workers who are able to issue fines under the PSPO.

The protection order is the latest in a long line of steps the council has taken to discourage seagulls from these areas.

Signage forbidding seagull feeding, and a public education programme urging people not to feed them, has been in place around the local area for several years. The council has also worked with local businesses and the owners of buildings on which the birds nest.

An awareness raising campaign for the PSPO will be run over the next few weeks involving further signage and the distribution of information leaflets explaining why seagulls should not be fed. 

Mr Williams added: ‘The PSPO will allow us to take more formal action against persistent or deliberate offenders, whose actions have been seen to impact on other people trying to enjoy the beaches and seafronts.

‘We have asked for feedback and ideas from members of the public, as well as local businesses, building owners and town councils on how we could improve the situation to a point where the birds could follow their natural habits and become less of a problem to humans. 

‘We have listened to what people have had to say and the overwhelming majority wanted us to be able to fine people seen deliberately feeding the gulls and throwing food litter which just encourages aggressive behaviour.’



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