Many people who have gulls on their property find they cause a nuisance.

Although we have no statutory duty to take action against gulls, since 2007, the council put in place a stakeholder forum to annually review the situation with nesting gulls in Hereford. This forum includes the public, Herefordshire Council members, Hereford City members, as well as businesses and experts in the control of birds. This forum annually reviews the effectiveness of control measures deployed and considers the various measures for controlling gulls available within the constraints of a government licence.

Gulls are a protected species, and interventions such as removal of eggs under general licence were revoked in 2020.

Prevention methods

You can help prevent gull activity on your property by:

  • Removing any possible food sources including fallen fruit, animal feed and accessible household waste
  • Keeping your rubbish in bins until the day of collection wherever practical
  • Making sure your bins have secured lids
  • Using special bird feeders rather than putting food on the floor
  • Not feeding your dogs and cats outdoors
  • Picking up and disposing of any litter outside your property
  • Clearing any undergrowth from your garden to remove possible nesting places
  • Not putting any meats, bread or cooked food on a compost heap as this will attract vermin into your garden. Where possible secure fine grade wire meshing around and underneath your compost heap.
  • Commercial properties should keep the streets at the front and back of the premises free of litter and black rubbish bags
  • Request a seagull-proof sack to put your rubbish out for collection. These are reusable, heavy duty bags designed to keep your waste sacks safe from seagulls and other vermin before they are picked up. They are available to residents and businesses in Hereford city centre.

Legislation: gull control

The principal legislation dealing with the control of birds is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Generally, it is illegal to capture, injure or destroy any wild bird or interfere with its nest or eggs. The penalties for disregarding the law can be severe.

If you want to feed birds without encouraging gulls:

  • Only put out bird food from November to May, as there is nearly always enough natural food available the rest of the year
  • Put food in wire baskets or under a roofed bird table so that only small birds can get it
  • Put out small amounts of food frequently rather than large amounts at a time

Specialist companies can protect your building from gulls by installing wires or spikes on chimney pots and other rooftop features.