COUNCIL bosses have defended claims made in the News that Chard is becoming overrun with seagulls.

Our front page story on August 20 saw complaints from members of the public and worries from councillors and traders over an increasing number of gulls in the town.

South Somerset District Council, who are in charge of pest control and environmental health, say more gulls are moving to built-up areas to nest, not just in the district but nationally as well.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, in the urban environment the gulls can cause many problems to people, especially while they have chicks.

“Apart from the noise, they create mess and many people find the gulls become very aggressive and ‘dive-bomb’ householders.”

The council say the issue is a “difficult one” as there is no legal duty for enforcement action available because they are wild birds.

They added: “The best option seems to be for individuals to take action in respect of their own properties. The more people who take action, the greater the success.”

In advising people about potential action, the council said they should remember that gulls are wild birds and are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act which makes it illegal to intentionally injure or kill any bird, or to take damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

General Licenses are issued by Natural England which do allow certain actions to be carried out that would otherwise be illegal under the legislation.

Further information on these licenses can be obtained from Natural England on 0845 600 3078.