There are growing fears of mass seagull attacks across Britain after tough new limits were set on culling the airborne menaces.
Natural England, which advises the government on the environment, has ordered strict curbs on the amount of birds that can be killed to control the gull population.
And it has sparked worries that we’ll see a series of fresh seaside attacks from violent gulls on people during the breeding season, which starts in just a few days’ time.
The body has been slated after it ignored calls for the mass removal of pest nests in areas blighted by the feathered beasts.
Instead the group only licences the culling or the moving of nesting eggs if there is ‘special approval’ given to local councils blighted by the beasties.
And a new upper limit has been set on the number of dangerous dive-bombers that can be culled or moved in rural areas, leaving town hall chiefs almost powerless to prevent future airborne attacks.
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It will create headaches for seaside resorts.
Authorities have increased the nuisance birds’ protective status despite a host of reported incidents.
And it’s not just chips and ice cream that the ‘scourge of the seafronts’ target.
The vicious beaked psychos have attacked people, pet dogs, children and babies from above.
With breeding season round the corner, there are concerns of new attacks from aggressive parents “protecting their young”.
For councils up and down the country, non-lethal methods like anti-gull bins, decoy eggs and drones haven’t worked.
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Last summer “scary” seagulls were reported to be attacking people on Tyneside.
But there is not much the council can do about it.
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that herring gulls can cause a nuisance, particularly during their brief breeding season while rearing their young.
“However, they are currently a red list protected species which limits the actions that we can take.”
Arbroath councillor Alex King said: “If we can’t control the number of gulls nesting and raising their young, you’re not going to get rid of the problem of aggressive parents defending their chicks.
“There have been many incidents of people being attacked by gulls and I think this is a backward step.”
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Breeding populations of herring gull has fallen by 60% in recent decades, with lesser black-backed gulls declining by an estimated 48%, say Natural England.
In rural areas, they have now set the upper ‘safe’ number of birds that could be killed by councils at just 5% of the natural mortality total of each species.
Marian Spain, Interim Chief Executive of Natural England, said: “Populations of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls have declined significantly in recent years and it’s essential that we do all we can to reverse this worrying trend.
“I hope that by prioritising the licences we issue, we can ensure that action is taken where it’s most needed while at the same time securing the long-term future of these important species.”
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