A Kirriemuir gull summit has drawn a large turnout to look at future options to solve the problems being created by the winged scavengers in the northern part of the town.
Around 50 people attended at Hillhead business park for the event, set up by businessman Graham Burke, whose Pentland Livestock buildings in the former Richard Lawson yard have become a haven for the birds.
The scale of this summer’s problems has been described as the worst locals can remember.
Customers from across Scotland have been bothered by protective parents during the recent nesting season and residents have complained about the noise, mess and aggressive behaviour of the gulls.
The size and nature of the Hillhead sheds present a costly hurdle to implementing control measures but Kirriemuir Conservative councillor Ronnie Proctor said he was encouraged by the responsible attitude being taken by the businesses.
“I went to the meeting by invitation as a local elected member and had also asked Councillor Tommy Stewart, the council’s vice convener of communities to come along,” said Mr Proctor.
“It was a very good meeting, with a lot of people attending and it highlighted the problems which seem to be particularly bad in that part of Kirrie.
“I personally hadn’t been aware that there was such a problem because I hadn’t personally received many complaints, but there were a lot of gulls up there when we went to the meeting, so full praise to Mr Burke and others.
“I am very sympathetic towards the businesses and residents over this situation, and we were very impressed by some of the steps that have already been taken to try to deal with this.
“The advice I have given them is to speak to one of our senior officials, Stewart Ball to work out the next move on this.
“The nesting season has passed, so it is too late to do anything this year, but I have said I will work with them towards getting a measured and sensible solution to this problem.”
Mr Proctor added: “There is nothing up there which is providing them with an easy source of food so they must be going elsewhere, possibly to bins at the Hill or to pick at litter thrown down there.”
He said it was important people didn’t provide the gulls with easy picking by dumping cartons at areas such as the busy beauty spot.
Mr Stewart has already said he considers the gull problem has reached such proportions in Montrose that it is time to consider a cull.
Mr Proctor said the eradication question is a more difficult one to tackle.
“It is not the council that issues a general licence, Scottish Natural Heritage has to ensure that in the case of a business, everything possible measure has been taken to get rid of them before that is considered.
Angus Council operates an egg removal service, but only for residential properties and has stressed the law only allows for the birds to be killed “in extreme circumstances”, such as where there is a risk to human health.
A council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately once eggs hatch the gulls start swooping in order to protect their chicks – at this point no action can be taken.
“We also discourage people from feeding gulls but again do not have any powers to take action against them if they do.”