SCOTS coastal towns are considering testing the use of a contraceptive pill to quell the growing menace of seagulls.

A Belgian town has announced it will put its resident seagulls on birth control by doping their food which is the first time the idea has been tested on the species.

If the trial is successful, Scotland’s coastal towns could adopt the method of dealing with the noisy, aggressive seabirds whose anti-social behaviour often deters tourists.

In Blankenberge the contraceptive pills will be secreted in food deliberately left out for the scavengers, while fake eggs will be used to fool broody birds and drones will be deployed to find rogue nests.

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HeraldScotland:

Ms Blackman, above, said: “My constituents regularly contact me about the blight of gulls in Aberdeen; they’re noisy, messy and can generally be a huge nuisance in parts of the city.

EU laws prevent the culling of seagulls which has lead councils to consider alternative methods of reducing their booming population.

The scheme has been backed by Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman, who has often highlighted the plight of residents being divebombed by gulls as more cases of attacks are reported across the country.

Ms Blackman said: “My constituents regularly contact me about the blight of gulls in Aberdeen; they’re noisy, messy and can generally be a huge nuisance in parts of the city. I am keen to learn from any area that successfully and humanely reduces the number of gulls causing trouble.

“If that means pilot schemes that use fake eggs or contraception then I, and I think most folk in Aberdeen, would look forward to seeing the results.”

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Seagulls injured three people in 18 reported attacks in the space of a year in Aberdeen last summer.

In Kirkcaldy one street was described as a no-go zone after a flurry of attacks and it was reported one woman had a heart attack after being divebombed. Various methods have been used, including electronic devices that disrupt roosting patterns, oiling eggs to stop their chicks developing or employing a bird of prey.

Now the new method would be deployed if tests show it works humanely.

Gull-proofing measures also include chimney guards, spikes for roof edges and netting, Fife council said.

But the council has merely moved to urge people not to feed the gulls and property owners affected by gulls to consider gull-proofing their properties before breeding season starts.

Councillor Ross Vettraino, Fife environment convener, said: “Herring gulls are the most common type of gull to nest on buildings in Fife. Notwithstanding that they can be a real nuisance, they are protected by law and it’s generally illegal to destroy them or interfere with their nests.”

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East Lothian Council said it carries out an annual programme of “egg oiling” to reduce the population of seagulls in areas identified as having a problem, including parts of Musselburgh, North Berwick and Dunbar.

RSPB Scotland said: “From our perspective the populations of certain gulls have been in overall decline for a number of years now, so herring gull have declined by 50 per cent since the 1970s.

“Gulls have always been a feature of coastal towns and villages and because some species are of conservation concern we don’t advocate these measures to reduce the gull population.

“We think there are easier things that are done which include reducing availability of food especially in relation to landfill sites but also street refuse, particularly reducing the availability of nesting sites.

“If non-lethal measures are unsuccessful then certain species can be controlled as a last resort, especially if there is a public health and safety issue.”