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27 May 2014, 15:47
Cheltenham Borough Council's environmental health team has completed its two week annual egg oiling programme in order to help control the urban gull population.
This year 447 eggs in nests around the borough were oiled.
Many Cheltenham businesses and residents are affected by urban gulls and although the council has no statutory duty to provide this service it is fortunate to have an annual budget of £5,000 to spend on an egg oiling programme. This method is the most effective use of the budget and is a tried and tested method of preventing gull eggs from hatching.
Eggs are treated over a period of the laying season, but they are left in situ in the nest. Adult birds will continue to sit on the eggs, but due to the treatment, they will not hatch.
The egg oiling usually begins in May or June, depending on how the weather affects the mating, nesting and laying. The team visit the properties of people who have complained about problems with gulls throughout the year such as noise, aggression, faeces or damage to property.
Sarah Clark, public and environmental health team leader, says: ''We do our best to control the urban gull population with the budget that we have. The only long term and sustainable solution is for residents and businesses to unite in their own action by gull proofing their own properties, reducing the amount of food litter and raising awareness.
''The main advantage of egg oiling is a reduction in the number of hatchlings. Nesting gull parents can become aggressive and have sometimes been known to attack nearby members of the public. With egg oiling the problems of aggressive parent gulls and noisy chicks are abolished, due to the eggs not hatching, and no young being raised. However, there is nothing we can do about live birds; we can only intervene with the eggs.''
Further information about urban gull control can be found on the council's website. An urban gull focus group has been set up and anyone wanting to join can email the environmental health team on: email@example.com or call 01242 775178.
If you think your property should be included in next year's gull control work please contact the environmental health team.