MEASURES to help prevent nesting seagulls from dive-bombing and attacking West Fifers are set to be ruled out as too costly.

Instead of throwing money at the angry birds problem, Fife Council want to put up more signs and use CCTV to catch those who drop litter.

Reports of nuisance gulls in urban areas are on the rise – a pensioner attacked twice in one day in Inverkeithing said it was “like something out of the film ‘The Birds’” – but the council have no statutory responsibility to tackle the issue.

And Mark McCall, service manager for safer communities and neighbourhoods, added that none of the measures that had been tried had worked anyway.

He said: “Research of activity within other local authority areas and information from the Scottish Government-led Seagull Task Force concludes that there are no programmes of work which have been successful over a sustained period.

“The cost of programmes including nest and egg removal, dummy eggs, culling and seagull-proofing roofs has been deemed excessive in the context of outcomes.”

As well as the pensioner who was attacked twice by gulls in the same day in Inverkeithing, a couple in the Hillfield area previously told the Press they were scared to leave their home as they were “dive-bombed” by protective birds every time they left the house.

Mr McCall said: “Seagulls can be aggressive and cause a regular nuisance in coastal towns and, in more recent years, in inland regions.

“Large amounts of bird droppings can result in structural damage and block gutters and gulls may also show aggressive behaviour, which is usually associated with protection by adult birds of chicks close to fledging. The nesting season for gulls is between April and August and it is generally during these times that gulls are perceived as a nuisance to the public.”

The council received around 100 complaints last year but said “this does not reflect the wider community impact as calls for advice rise exponentially in April each year”.

Mr McCall said there were also “disproportionately high” expectations that the local authority would act. He explained: “Control of nesting gulls is the responsibility of the owner of the property on which the nest is situated.

“There is no statutory responsibility on the council to control the gull population, or to instruct owners to take any action.

“The consent of the property owner would be required before the council could undertake any action to remove nests or eggs.”

Pest control officers were “successful” in dealing with gull problems at Inverkeithing High School. However, they’ve been told by Scottish Natural Heritage that any nest and egg removal would have to be done for four consecutive years before gulls changed their nesting habits.

Councillors are set to discuss three options today: deliver an in-house gull management programme to tackle complaints, which could see the public charged for nest and egg removal from their home; continue a pilot scheme with an external firm in Kirkcaldy, at a cost of £18,000 a year for four years; or a programme of awareness with more signs telling people not to feed the gulls, visits to food outlets and schools, increased patrols and CCTV to catch and fine those dropping litter.

Mr McCall’s report concluded: “Given that the local authority has no statutory responsibility to deal with this matter, research presents limited evidence of success in controlling seagull nuisance and the associated costs of delivering a service are extensive, it is recommended that option 3 is progressed.”