The new Conservative administration of B&NES has been accused of complacency following the recently-announced cut to government funding for gull research.
Councillor Dine Romero (Southdown), Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, commented:
“We worked hard over the last four years to come up with innovative ways to discourage urban gulls. Every year we added new tools to our kit, from improvements to rubbish services and new compacting litter bins to advertising and involving the community. These measures all contributed to slowing the growth of gull populations.
“However, we wanted to go further than the actions one Council can take alone. The numbers of gulls are still increasing and to really make progress we need a wider effort. That’s why Don Foster fought for – and won – funding for research into the life cycle of the urban gull. This funding, which should have led to new tools and a national strategy to combat these pests, was cancelled in one of the first actions of the new government.
“Councils, businesses and house owners spend millions of pounds each year trying to tackle the gull problems. It seems crazy to axe the modest funding for research which could have saved all that money.
“Since then, the Conservatives have complacently suggested we are winning the battle against the gulls and have not named a single new action they will take to tackle the problem. Moreover they do not appear to have opposed the research funding cut, with Ben Howlett even saying that Councils are on their own with this problem.
“It appears that, instead of fighting for the issues that matter to residents, Bath’s new Conservative Council and Conservative MP are meekly accepting cuts handed down by the Conservative government.”