The Courier can reveal that further trials are planned next year in a bid to curb Scotland’s seagull epidemic.
Seagull incidents this summer in Tayside and Fife have ranged from minor misdemeanours like pinching sandwiches to serious offences such as attacking vehicles, animals and even people.
A Fife pensioner suffered a heart attack after being attacked by an aggressive gull in Kirkcaldy while a £32,000 Jaguar in Arbroath was pecked repeatedly by a vicious seagull.
Seagulls were culled and eggs destroyed in Dundee while work to remove seagull nests and eggs took place in Stonehaven following reports of nuisance birds injuring people.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The Urban Gull Task Force (UGTF), which consists of members of the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Dumfries and Galloway Council, and an experienced independent contractor, has been working on approaches since 2009 to try and deter gulls from nesting in urban environments and to reduce the numbers of young fledging each year.
“Various techniques have been or are being trialled and adapted to increase effectiveness, including falconry, water sprayers, and egg and nest removal.
“A further trial comparing permanent exclusion devices, as well as a trapping trial, is being planned for 2018.
“Once the UGTF has confidence that particular methods and procedures are capable of providing positive results, it is intended that this work will be published in the form of guidance for local authorities.”
She said the Scottish Government does not intend to review the 2010 research to support measures to tackle issues arising from gull nesting.
Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to kill, injure or remove any wild bird.
People leaving food, either by dropping it or feeding birds, has led to gulls becoming familiar with humans to the point of identifying them as a food source.
North East Scotland Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “I think most people would welcome any initiative to tackle the menace of gulls in towns and cities across the north-east.
“There is no question in my mind that the situation is out of control in some areas, and I have welcomed the Courier campaign on this issue.
“It seems clear methods that have been tried up to now have failed to curb the problem.
“Hopefully, the trials planned for 2018 can help provide an effective deterrent.
“I would urge the Scottish Government and partner agencies to work as quickly as possible, as this is an ongoing nightmare for the communities affected.”