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Flap over gull menace in Dumfries but what about Stranraer?

DUMFRIES normally benefits from an egg-and-nest removal scheme to cut the menace of seagulls but Covid-19 meant a contractor was not appointed in time for this year's breeding season. The council admits it "missed the window of opportunity" in the fight against aggressive gulls – but it's not just Dumfries that has a problem. Stranraer and the Rhins councillors Tommy Sloan and Willie Scobie say there are huge problems with gulls in Stranraer and maintain the council has not been diligent enough to implement a plan was agreed last September regarding the gull problem. Councillor Sloan said: “I read with interest an article in a national paper that says Dumfries residents are set for an uphill struggle in battle against nuisance gulls. This totally ignores the fact that there has been an ongoing problem with gulls in Stranraer. “We have had countless meetings on the matter and agreed a course of action last September, well before Covid-19 and lockdown, but it is evident that the agreed plan has just been ignored." Councillors Sloan and Scobie have raised the matter with officials of the Council and are due to meet the Head of Services on the matter. Councillor Scobie added: “It comes over in the article that unless Dumfries has the problem then the rest of the region is forgotten about. “We needed the action as agreed last year to have been implements and, for whatever reason, this has not happened. “People in Stranraer have faced the gull problem for years and have had promises made to them of netting schools, removing eggs and surveys being taken of gull population – but they have been let down with all these promises. "We appreciate the council has had other things that have taken precedence, but we are still here to represent the people and for the promised services to be delivered. “We want immediate action and will be looking for guarantees from the Head of Services when we meet.” Modern gulls are said to be larger and more aggressive thanks to the prevalence of fast food – although lockdown and a lack of discarded food is also said to have made them more aggressive. They are particularly aggressive when protecting nests and a Free Press poll last year found readers were in favour of action against gulls in the town. There were also calls for action against feral pigeons, whose droppings spread disease. Embarrassingly for the council, the first indications that all was not well with the former Goerge Hotel came when the Free Press spotted pigeons coming and going from its upper floor early in 2019, despite taxpayers' money having been spent to make the building wind-and-watertight. The hotel remains a shell, blighting Stranraer's town centre.

<< back Published: 18 Aug 2020, 15:40

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