We do not provide ‘treatments’ for gulls, but the following information is here to help you.

Most people understand gulls are an integral part of the seaside and coastal environment. But, it is clear that more and more gulls are moving into built-up areas to nest.

Gulls are very resourceful and highly intelligent creatures. They are also very social and often form large colonies. While there are many species of gull, only herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls nest in suburban areas in any significant number.

Some people find gulls can cause nuisance through noise, mess and damage by picking at roofing materials or blocking gutters with nests. Gulls can also be aggressive if they feel that they or their young are under threat, or if their nest is disturbed.

Protection and control

Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill any gull, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. But, the law recognises that in some circumstances control may be necessary. Action can be taken to prevent the spread of disease, to ensure public health and safety or to prevent serious damage to agriculture.

Any action taken must be in accordance with the terms of a licence issued by Natural England. You can find more information on the Natural England website. Under legislation, there is a requirement to demonstrate that there is a likelihood of serious damage before any action is taken to remove birds.

Legislation also requires non-lethal measures to be considered. Nuisance – such as noise or damage to property – is not a legitimate reason to kill gulls.

Discouraging gulls can be very difficult. You can help by not feeding gulls and by using physical barriers to prevent nesting. For specific advice, you will need to contact a specialist gull proofing company.

Other information

You can find more information on the website of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

RSPB briefing note (PDF 36KB)

RSPB press release (PDF 258KB)

Last reviewed: November 23, 2023 by Qi

Next review due: May 23, 2024

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