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Scarborough's 'Licence to Cull' Story Dismissed by Natural England


Speaking exclusively to Scarborough UK, Natural England have dismissed reports of a 'special licence' being granted to Scarborough, which would allow residents to remove seagull eggs, nests and even kill birds under certain conditions.

Last week many of you will have seen the 'Licence to Cull' story doing the rounds in both local and national press. The story suggested that Natural England, the government's adviser for the natural environment, had granted Scarborough residents a special licence to kill problem gulls.

Having read the story ourselves, we looked into the revelations, but failed to find any clear source. Although we published the facts as we understood them, we stopped short of the sensationalist headlines others had opted for.

The attention grabbing headlines certainly did their job however, spreading quickly across the press. As well as a raft of local newspapers, even nationals such as the Daily Mail and Express jumped on the bandwagon.

The press weren't the only one's getting carried away with the news however. Local Councillor Andrew Jenkinson joined the conversation saying "this is what we've been waiting for" and referred to the news as the 'biggest breakthrough yet in the battle against seagulls'.

Not everyone was quite so happy with the news however, with some people even suggesting they would boycott the town after reading about Scarborough's so called 'Licence to Cull'.

Responses to reports of Scarborough's 'Licence to Cull' on Twitter

"Absolutely disgusted! No more holidays to Scarborough for me & my family!"

"It's unthinkable and incredibly blood thirsty. I certainly won't be visiting."
Kirsten Henry

"Shame on you, Scarborough. APPROVING Gull slaughter. Despicable."
Katherine Birkett

"8 entirely harmless Kittiwakes already killed in Scarborough - this article will only encourage vigilantes."
Julian Thomas

One bird lover was so incensed at after reading the news they went to the extent of creating an online petition to 'Save the Scarborough seagulls from being killed'.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of the apparent breaking news, we contacted Natural England directly to ask for some clarification on the issue - something didn't quite add up.

The following day we received a reply from Alexa MacBryde, a Senior External Communications Adviser for Natural England, confirming that we were correct in our assumptions that the story had been misreported in the media

Ms. MacBryde said:

"We are in the process of finalising some 'myth busters' regarding gull licences. We are also composing a letter to editors to provide the facts."

For people seeking further guidance on controlling gulls, Natural England suggested people referred to the information and General Licence to be used in such cases, available on their website here.

The General Licence (WML GL-05) is specifically for public health and safety and is not unique to Scarborough. Contrary to reports the licence is not new and has in fact been available for at least 5 years.

Scarborough's 'Licence to Cull' Story Dismissed by Natural England Reviewed by Editor on 23:18:00 Rating: 5

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