The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds. It is an offence to kill or injure any birds or their nests or eggs unless acting under a licence and only in compliance with the conditions of that licence. A General Licence allows "authorised persons" to undertake certain actions which would otherwise be illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, but only to certain birds in certain circumstances.
“Authorised person” means the owner or occupier or any person authorised by the owner or occupier of the land on which the action authorised takes place.
Certain species enjoy absolute protection, and cannot be killed, injured or their eggs and nests disturbed under any circumstances. For example, Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus),are an endangered species and enjoy absolute protection under the Act.
Very often, it is the consequences of wild birds foraging for food in urban areas, or nesting on rooftops and chimney stacks which brings them into close proximity to people, giving rise to conflict.
You can help to prevent this by;
A General Licence allows Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) and Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus) to be killed and their eggs and nests to be damaged or destroyed, but only for the following reasons:
Noise from birds, the fact that they leave droppings or that they open rubbish bags are NOT reasons under the Act. Killing or injuring birds for these reasons is an offence and offenders can be prosecuted.
When dealing with birds which can be dealt with under the terms of a General Licence, all non-lethal methods must be considered first, such as deterrent devices, and only if none are thought suitable can lethal measures then be considered.
The Council has no special responsibility for dealing with Gulls. They are wild birds and as such are not “kept” by any individual, so there is no recourse under statutory nuisance law.
Any action taken in respect of any particular problem will be at the discretion of the owner of the land where the problem exists.
Surveys show the culling of seagulls is mainly unsuccessful for the reason that any local population which is reduced by culling will very quickly increase back up to the original optimum number with younger birds taking up territories previously occupied by adults.
Before undertaking any action, except proofing outside of the nesting season, we recommend you seek expert advice on current legislation from Natural England, Tel: 0300 060 6000