FOR years they’ve feathered their own nests with an arrogant, impudent disregard for those beneath them, but now Hereford’s “untouchable” seagulls are to be brought down.

Herefordshire Council is taking the fight to the home front, going after nests and eggs to keep the gulls from coming back in their breeding season.

Contractors, working with both the RSPB and Defra, have been called in to get the “softly, softly” job done. Right now, it’s all about intelligence – identifying nest sites and ways to get at them.

Properties across the city centre were put on stand-by this week and the campaign itself is expected to last until August.

According to the council, the number of seagulls settling in Hereford rises by about 10% each year. At that rate “waste disposal” alone makes them a health hazard.

And they have to be a hazard for the council to go after them. The gulls are protected under wildlife laws, no matter how much of a nuisance they might be.

As the numbers rose all the council could do was offer advice – and stories like that of Ray Greenall, a partially sighted man from Belmont who told the Hereford Times last year that seagulls kept “dive-bombing” his guide dog, kept on coming.

Earlier this year, Special Metals Wiggin hired a hawk to scare seagulls off its Holmer site as a natural predator.

Targeting nests and eggs makes action against gulls a mind game. Removing both means the gulls might not think its worth coming back in breeding season.

It won’t be easy. Gulls can be quick to re-build. If they do, they’ll find the contractors make a quick come back too.

None of this is free and, although the council is footing the bill, it is asking for contributions to a future fighting fund. The money will be spent on making defence the best form of attack.

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