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Seagull scheme's value questioned

12 May 09 00:28 GMT

An MSP has questioned the value of a scheme to tackle urban seagull problems in southern Scotland.

A three year trial is under way in Dumfries using falcons to try to reduce gull numbers nesting in the town.

Labour MSP Elaine Murray said she was concerned about the impact of an £87,000 Scottish Government investment to support the project.

She said it would be a "complete waste" if it did not study the scale of the problem outside the town centre.

Dumfries has suffered for some time from problems with seagulls attacking pedestrians.

Earlier this year a new project got under way - including the use of falcons - to try to improve the situation.

The Scottish Government awarded funding to engage the Central Science Laboratory to carry out the trial and assess its effectiveness as a deterrent.

Recent reports

The success of the project will be evaluated this year to see if any further cash support should be given.

It is hoped the project can assist other parts of Scotland which are suffering similar problems.

However, Ms Murray has expressed concern that the remit of the scheme may not be wide enough.

"This is a significant sum of money allocated to evaluating the trial use of falcons in Dumfries town centre," she said.

She said any study needed to look at the effect on residential areas.

"I'm certainly seeing more gulls than normal where I live in north west Dumfries," she said.

"Recent reports from Georgetown suggest that the problem is even worse than usual at this time of year."

She has now submitted a question to environment minister Roseanna Cunningham to see whether gull populations in other parts of the town can be monitored.

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