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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 17:26 GMT
Locals in a flap over gull sounds
A seagull
Seagulls are seen by many as a nuisance in towns and cities
A sound system designed to scare away seagulls in an Aberdeenshire town was turned off because local people got in a flap over the noise.

A recording of a seagull distress call was played at South Harbour Retail Park in Fraserburgh in an attempt to frighten off the birds.

It was switched off after concerns were raised.

The RSPB doubted the effectiveness of the system and Aberdeenshire Council said it was investigating.

Councillor for Fraserburgh East, Ian Tait, told BBC Scotland's news website: "I have heard it, it's like a seagull squawking in distress, it's very loud and obtrusive.

Most of the scaring devices have a limited shelf life because the birds cotton on and they ignore it
RSPB spokesperson

"I totally sympathise with the residents and can understand the complaints.

"It's good there are efforts to get rid of the seagulls but it seems to be the wrong system.

"If it's causing a nuisance for the local residents then it should not be allowed to continue."

A spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: "Noise can be successful in the short term but most of the scaring devices have a limited shelf life because the birds cotton on and they ignore it.

'Coastal towns'

"Such noises are more common for clearing birds off airfields rather than deterring them from nesting. It's possibly more disturbing to locals than the birds.

"Gulls are going to nest on buildings in coastal towns and the solution is a mix of measures.

"These include treating buildings so they are unable to land on them and local authorities have the power to remove nests or prick eggs based on the severity of the problem."

The spokesperson added: "Tolerance is part of the mix too."

Aberdeenshire Council said it was investigating the complaints about noise at the retail park.

The retail park managing agents, Savills, said the system had been switched off and there were no plans to start it again.

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