We really need now to protect two groups in particular who suffer seriously from the invasive and aggressive activity of these gulls. Firstly the toddlers, who are terrified and even endangered by the huge birds bombarding them for their snacks and ice-creams (it is just as traumatic for an adult). Secondly, seaside householders who are not allowed as the law presently stands to instruct the local council to remove and destroy nests and eggs, nor to take any other action to relieve themselves from the constant screaming and stamping about overhead except try to find the hundreds of pounds needed to buy unsightly netting or spikes in a vain attempt to keep the birds off the roof.
And it is a vain attempt – gulls habitually bite and tear at any obstruction, eventually dismantling the expensive 'protection' and turning it into an upmarket gulls' nest. I have also seen a fledging gull ripping away the waterproofing seal from an outhouse, letting in the driving rain.
Herring gulls are to my mind at least as great a danger, expense and nuisance to us as rats. We rid ourselves of our cute whiskery rodents without compunction. Please may we extend a similar lack of sentimentality now to the common herring gull.