Published on 16th May 2013

a grey and white gull with yellow legs and feet and a yellow beak tipped with black and red

Cheltenham Borough Council’s environmental health team have started their annual egg oiling programme in order to help control the urban gull population.

Many Cheltenham businesses and residents are affected by urban gulls and although the council has no statutory duty to provide this service they are fortunate to have an annual budget of £5,000 to spend on an egg oiling programme.

This method is the most effective use of the budget and is a tried and tested method of preventing gull eggs from hatching. Eggs are treated over a period of the laying season, but they are left in situ in the nest. Adult birds will continue to sit on the eggs, but due to the treatment, they will not hatch. The egg oiling usually begins in May or June, depending on how the weather affects the mating, nesting and laying. The team visit the properties of people who have complained about problems with gulls throughout the year such as noise, aggression, faeces or damage to property.
This year the egg oiling started on 15 May and will take three weeks.

Sarah Clark, public and environmental health team leader, says: “We do our best to control the urban gull population with the budget that we have. The only long term and sustainable solution is for residents and businesses to unite in their own action by gull proofing their own properties, reducing the amount of food litter and raising awareness. With that in mind, we have started an urban gull focus group and are keen to hear from anybody who would like to join us.”

Councillor Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for housing, safety and communities, added: “The main advantage of egg oiling is a reduction in the number of hatchlings. Nesting gull parents become aggressive and have often been known to attack nearby members of the public. With egg oiling the problem of aggressive parent gulls is abolished, due to the eggs not hatching, and no young being raised. However, there is nothing we can do about live birds; we can only intervene with the eggs. Controlling gulls is extremely challenging and relies on us all doing our bit to help control the urban gull population.”

Further information about urban gull control and the urban gull focus group can be found on our website (pages should be published this week). If you would like to join the urban gull focus group, please email the environmental health team on: [email protected] or call 01242 775178.

For press enquiries contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154 or email [email protected]

Part of the £5,000 budget is spent on hiring truck mounted elevated platforms that can reach heights of 52m and are capable of navigating narrow streets and complex roof architecture.
All owners/occupiers of buildings which have or may attract roof nesting gulls are urged to install gull deterrent measures suitable to their individual building.