Know your enemy?

With a referendum coming up – which could change the way we’re governed locally – it’s no surprise that B&NES and it’s ruling Conservative group of councillors want to be seen to be very pro-active as far as local ratepayers are concerned. After all, they are the people currently facing an increase – in their annual local council tax – of up to four percent.

So next Wednesday – February 10th – the Council’s Cabinet will hear of ‘ an innovative and ambitious new community campaign’ to tackle Bath’s urban gull problem.

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Gulls over Pulteney Weir.

Alongside that they’ve managed to find £60,000 to trial a series of measures to try and persuade the gulls to move out of the city centre. It’s where gulls are most concentrated and where traders and tourists are receiving unwanted ‘gifts’ from on high on shop windows and unsuspecting heads.

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Room for one more?

Gulls often return to the same place to breed. Seems sensible that once you’ve found a good spot to set up home – why go anywhere else? But – if agreed by Cabinet – there will be funds to grant those worst affected – ‘free roof treatments, including the removal of nests’.

A press release states: ‘ This is part of the Council’s coordinated approach to the gull problem – which also includes reducing access to food sources, and communicating the importance of keeping the streets clear of litter and waste and not feeding the gulls.’

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Gulls on the rooftops of Pulteney Bridge

Nothing new there then – but to be fair to B&NES – there is no national strategy to deal with urban gulls and no special local authority funding to deal with the issue being provided by central government. B&NES will be lobbying hard for a national strategy and maybe this is where our local MP Ben Howlett can help?

What IS new is also deciding to work with two universities – the University of the West of England and Middlesex University – on an 18-month long research project – and one that  will involve the school-children of Bath too!

‘Know your enemy’ – it says in The Art of War – a book that was part of the syllabus for potential candidates of military service examinations in many East Asian countries.

Sensible advice when it comes to seeking a long term solution to a problem affecting more and more of our urban centres. Let alone the fish and chips snatched from the hands of many beside the seaside!

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Dr Chris Pawson who will be leading the research programme.

The Virtual Museum of Bath caught up with Dr Chris Pawson – who is Head of Psychology at UWE – and the man leading the research. He also lives in Bath.

 

 

Chris says they will probably launch the ‘citizen science’ project during British Science Week – that’s from March 11th. Schools interested in getting involved can contact him on chris.pawson@uwe.ac.uk.

Here’s a link through to a report B&NES Cabinet members will receive next Wednesday, March 10th.

Some background on gull numbers and breeding habits.

https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/documents/s40219/E2803z%20App1%20Gull%20Strategy%20-%20Final.pdf