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Homeowners CAN Remove Seagull Nests & Eggs IF Birds Pose Risk to Health & Safety

Scarborough Seagull

The Government's adviser for the natural environment, Natural England, has moved to address the rising number of seagull related incidents by clarifying exactly what action can be taken.


Natural England said it recognised the rising number of gull problems but highlighted that, where preventative measures are proving ineffective, more severe action can already be taken under the terms of an existing general licence.

The licence states that, if gulls can be shown to pose a risk to public health or safety, home-owners, land-owners and occupiers can legally remove eggs or nests from their land.

It also permits 'lethal control' of lesser black-backed gulls in certain circumstances. Herring gulls, however, have been red-listed as a bird of conservation concern so their lethal control is only permitted by obtaining an individual licence from Natural England.

You cannot use this licence simply because birds are causing a nuisance or damaging your property.

James Diamond, Natural England Operations Director, said:

"Natural England provides clear licensing advice to local authorities and landowners on the actions they can take to manage potential gull problems. Where certain species pose a risk to public health or safety, immediate action is allowed; this can include removing their nests and eggs and, for lesser black-backed gulls, lethal control if necessary."

"We recommend that local authorities develop a long-term management strategy, using a package of measures, to keep gull numbers in check."

Like all wild birds, gulls and their eggs and nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which is why Natural England – the statutory conservation agency – licences any action affecting them.

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