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  • Lowestoft Vision to improve shopper and visitor experience by controlling seagull population growth


Lowestoft Vision to improve shopper and visitor experience by controlling seagull population growth

Lowestoft Vision to improve shopper and visitor experience by controlling seagull population growth
As part of its ongoing programme in 2017 to boost Lowestoft town centre’s attractiveness to shoppers and visitors, Lowestoft Vision will be launching an innovative way of managing the resort’s large numbers of increasingly aggressive seagulls.
Over the last few months, members of Lowestoft Vision, which is part of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Lowestoft & Waveney, have been taking professional advice from Natural England and the RSPB to assist them in developing a scheme over the winter.  
Whilst seagulls are a welcome resident of a traditional seaside town, the increase in population has seen a rise in complaints from customers which includes reports of having food items snatched and people feeling intimidated by them
As a result, Lowestoft Vision has commissioned NBC Environment to provide an intensive period of hawk and falcon flying in the town centre, aimed at dissuading the seagulls from nesting during their breeding season in the rooftops of buildings in the town centre.
The Harris hawk and falcon flying will begin on Wednesday 5th April and run through until the beginning of May. These timings have been selected so that they finish before any seagull eggs have hatched to ensure none of the existing chicks are harmed.
David Howard, director of Palmers Department Store and Lowestoft Vision member said “As a business organisation Lowestoft Vision is committed to improving the cleanliness and experience for town centre customers.
“We have sought advice from a wide range organisations on the best way to tackle the increasing problems with seagulls and feel that hawk flying, which will encourage seagulls to nest away from the town centre, is the most proportionate and timely way to deal with this problem this year
“We would also ask shoppers and visitors to help us contain the local seagull population by refraining from feeding them as this only habituates them to taking food from humans.”
Stuart Miller of NBC Environment said “Gulls around intrinsically bad, but they do create a lot of noise, a lot of mess and they can be aggressive when protecting or providing for their young. As such, moving the birds to locations where they are less likely to come into regular contact with humans is advisable. 
“If action isn’t taken gulls will return to the same nesting sites year-in-year-out and bring their offspring with them. Each pair can produce up to 30 offspring each decade and the birds start breeding at around three years old. Unless action is taken, gull colonies can grow very large in a relatively short space of time. Non-lethal falconry is an effective way to do this, because gulls will not nest in areas where they believe there is an active population of predators.” 
In addition to hawking, Lowestoft Vision will be launching a new cleanliness scheme for businesses to sign up to in the coming weeks. 

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