Somerset

Gulls research project plan by Bath council and university researchers

Gull in Bath city centre Image copyright Bath and North East Somerset Council
Image caption There are nearly 1,300 breeding pairs of gulls in the Bath area

An 18-month research project into gull behaviour is being proposed in Bath to help find ways to reduce numbers.

There were 1,297 breeding pairs last spring, according to a Bath and North East Somerset Council survey. The number has been rising yearly.

Middlesex University and University of the West of England (UWE) will run the project at no cost to the council.

Chris Pawson from UWE said: "We're interested in the interaction between gulls and their environment."

'Complex decisions'

Council officers and students will create a map to track gull behaviour. Residents and local schools are also being asked to help gather data.

"They are intelligent animals that can live for over 30 years.

"They're making complex decisions about where they nest - we need to understand more about this," said Dr Pawson.

The project is part of a wider plan being proposed by the local authority to reduce gull numbers.

A cabinet meeting next week will decide whether £60,000 should be spent on some trials to deter gulls from nesting in the city.

The measures would include removing nests, reducing access to food sources and not feeding gulls.

Bath's MP, Conservative Ben Howlett, said: "As a city centre resident myself, I know that passions run high regarding seagulls - over 1,350 people filled in my survey on seagulls, and I have received over 120 additional letters on seagull-related matters.

"I am delighted that B&NES Council are taking the long-awaited action towards addressing the gull situation in Bath and I hope residents will be patient as a problem of this nature is not going to be resolved instantly."

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