FALCONS could be used to catch gulls in Hereford, with other options of controlling the birds unlawful.

Hereford City Council's clerk has said it would be illegal to interfere with the nests or eggs of gulls, as it would be to kill them by "artificial means", such as trapping or shooting.

He said that left very few options, but "natural predators" would be one option for the city council to consider, but there was the risk of "substantial ongoing expenditure".

Mike Truelove from Hereford Business Improvement District (BID) said falcons would be expensive initially as they are needed for "several days and weeks" at the beginning, before petering out to occasionally bringing them in.


In another area of the country, a falcon catching and killing a gull received a bad reception, so Mr Truelove said the council should consider that.

He said gull-proof bags were "very effective", and while they have been used in the city in the past, Herefordshire Council would not buy anymore.

Coun Jim Kenyon, who chaired Wednesday's community development committee meeting, suggested the council could look into more bags as taken away a source of food was a good way to control the birds.

And the council then agreed to spend up to £2,000 buying gull-proof bags.

Discussing options, Coun Kenyon felt a bird scarer, which lets off a loud bang to deter birds, would not be effective.

Coun Paul Stevens, who said he lives near Holmer Road where a bird scarer is located, said gulls think "it's some great party and settle back down almost immediately".


Coun Kenyon said: "I've been stood by a seagull scarer two, three, days a week at Elgar House.

"The seagull scarer goes off, it goes off all day, and it drives anyone who's around it or near it nuts, like myself.

"Then at 5 o'clock all the seagulls decide to come and sit around it so I don't really see the point of it.

"Noisy seagull scarers I don't find are particularly good either.

"We do need to find a solution, and perhaps seagull bags are a solution."

Mike Truelove said 150 gull bags would cost £1,950, and they could last up to three years.

Discussing options in the meeting, which was held via Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic, Coun Kevin Tillett said the council had "missed the boat" with getting a falcon in.

Information shared to the council previously said work should start in February.