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Inverness Business Improvement District (Bid) hopes to get £11,200 from Highland Council to help control city centre gull numbers

By Ian Duncan

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Inverness BID has applied to Highland Council for funding for its gull project.
Inverness BID has applied to Highland Council for funding for its gull project.

Work to control the gull population in Inverness city centre will continue this year if a funding bid proves successful.

Inverness Business Improvement District (Bid) is seeking £11,200 from the Inverness Common Good Fund for the work, to put in place a number of deterrent measures.

The gull project, which has been successful in reducing the gull population for a number of years, is due to begin in May and continue until July.

An independent census carried out in May 2019 identified 502 nests which were apparently occupied by breeding pairs – which was 25 per cent fewer than a count three years earlier.

A report submitted to Highland Council’s Inverness city committee which will consider the funding request on Thursday said: “The success in achieving this level of reduction is even greater when one recognises that, without this intervention programme, the gull population would be expected to grow by seven per cent per annum.

“The long-term nature of this project was recognised in the original discussions with Scottish Natural Heritage setting up this project.

“Unfortunately the Covid lockdown in March 2020 meant that last year’s agreed egg removal programme was unable to proceed as we were unable to obtain permission/access for the contractor’s mobile hoist to the 80 premises.

“In consequence not only is there likely to be a rise in the gull population but the new birds could be capable of breeding for 15 years – from the age of four up to 20.”

The project originally began after concerns were raised in late 2011 over the number of urban herring gulls in the Inverness area and the associated mess and disturbance caused.

As well as the Inverness Gull Project, Bid is also making applications for grants for other works including floral displays (£61,100), and the work of the Operation Respect Task Team (£9113) and Inverness Community Safety Partnership (£9700).

At Thursday’s meeting councillors will also consider a range of other applications, including one from High Life Highland.

It has applied for £16,127 to fund its Apples for All at Bught Apple Park project, based at Inverness Botanic Gardens.

This would go towardsthe establishment of a new orchard in and around the gardens, to include apple, pear and plum trees, and the running of a number of related community workshops.

Related article: Seagull control efforts in Inverness city centre have been handed a £12,000 boost; Highland Council awarded the cash from the Inverness Common Good Fund

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