Media Release: Dealing with urban gulls


MORAY Council has issued clarification on how gulls which have colonised urban areas can be dealt with.

In common with many other local authorities, the council receives a few complaints each year about nesting gulls causing a nuisance by behaving aggressively to protect their chicks or swooping to steal food.

Councils have no statutory duty to take action against gulls and cannot force the owners or occupiers of buildings to take action unless a statutory nuisance can be evidenced.

However, a general licence is available under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to allow authorised persons to take action against two species which have become common urban breeders – the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull – where these are causing public safety or public health issues or to prevent the spread of disease.

Methods of control allowed under the general licence including pricking and oiling eggs to prevent them hatching.

An authorised person can be the owner or occupier of a building or anyone authorised by the owner or occupier.

Importantly, there is no requirement to apply for a general licence but anyone taking action against gulls must meet all of the criteria, terms and conditions of the licence.

Where action is taken, the authorised personmust submit a report to Scottish Natural Heritage detailing the number of birds, eggs or nests taken or destroyed and the reason why such action was taken and the method used.

More detailed information on the general licence is available at

SNH are currently consulting on a revised licence for 2017 and the views of the public are being sought.

Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.

Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.

Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.


MEDIA RELEASE issued by Moray Council. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on Email here for more information.

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Moray Council contact details…

Contact: Peter Jones