ZERO fines issued for feeding seagulls in East Devon - despite ban
PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 November 2017
Under the current ban's conditions, anyone who was spotted feeding the gulls near Seaton's beach would be slapped with an £80 fine.
Not a single fine was issued for feeding seagulls across the whole of East Devon since the introduction of a ban six months ago.
The Herald reported the launch of a public space protection order (PSPO) in May this year.
The ban meant anyone who was spotted feeding the gulls near Seaton’s beach would be slapped with an £80 fine.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) introduced the PSPO after calls for something to be done about the seagulls which were becoming increasing aggressive and were only being encouraged by people feeding them.
The ban also covered the town beaches in Beer, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth.
Following the end of the tourist season, the Herald submitted a Freedom of Information request to see how many fines had been issued since the start of this year and how many gull complaints people had made in 2016 and so far in 2017.
The results revealed that no fixed penalty notices had been issued and that the number of complaints had in fact dropped.
In 2016, 44 complaints were made to the council about the birds compared with 37 this year, although there are still just over a month to go until the end of the year.
The data showed that in Exmouth, from 13 complaints were made in 2016 which dropped to four this year.
In total, 16 complaints were made in Sidmouth in 2016 compared with 12, so far, in 2017.
The numbers dropped from two to zero in each both Budleigh Salterton and Colyton while in Ottery there was one complaint in both years.
The number of complaints did however rise from seven to 13 in Seaton, three to four Honiton and zero to one in Beer, Lympstone and Axminster.
An EDDC spokeswoman said its Environmental Protection team was responsible for enforcing the PSPO. She added they relied on council officers and members of the public who spotted people deliberately feeding the gulls to give advice at the time and refer details to the team.
She said the PSPO was widely publicised and supported by communities across the district.
She added: “As a result, only a few incidents were referred to us this summer; most of these were residents being affected by neighbours feeding the gulls in their gardens.
“By the end of the summer, no incidents had been referred back and we would conclude that the information, education and signage has been effective this year.”