Efforts to tackle Fife’s growing seagull scourge have been stepped up before the summer months.
Enforcement officers have visited businesses in Kirkcaldy to give advice on deterring seagulls amid warnings they will adopt a zero tolerance approach to litter louts.
On-the-spot £80 fines will be handed out to offenders and Fife Council will use signs, banners and pavement stencils to raise awareness of the issue. All property owners affected by the birds have also been encouraged to consider gull-proofing their buildings.
Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of the environment, protective services and community safety committee, confirmed safer community officers will increase their patrols in areas affected by gulls in coming week.
He said one of the best deterrents is to stop dropping litter.
“Gulls are opportunistic feeders and will scavenge in towns for food dropped by pedestrians or thrown out of cars, as well as tear open waste bags left on streets,” he said.
“Everyone in Fife can play their part by not feeding the gulls, by binning litter instead of dropping it and by properly covering their waste.
“Fife Council has no statutory duty to deal with gulls, nor does it have the resources to do so. However, officers will give advice about the measures property owners and businesses can employ to proof their property and mitigate the nuisance.”
A new guidance document for businesses explaining how they can take steps to keep the waste they produce secure has been drawn up and will be available online later this month.
Lisa McCann, service manager for environmental health, said food and workplace safety officers place a strong emphasis on waste security when auditing businesses.
“All businesses can play a positive part in helping to reduce feeding opportunities for gulls,” she added.
“Keeping waste secure means that it does not end up scattered on our streets.
“Food businesses in particular need to ensure that their waste cannot escape their control.”
Anyone wishing further advice on how to deal with seagulls should go to www.fifedirect.org.uk/seagulls.
It is believed gulls can become particularly aggressive and territorial during nesting season and will be emboldened in their search for food, leading to “attacks” on people openly carrying it in urban areas.