How Norwich Market can learn from UEA in tackling gull problem

Gulls fighting for chips on Norwich MarketByline: Sonya Duncan

Ravenous gulls fighting for chips on Norwich Market Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Norwich Market could turn to the University of East Anglia for inspiration in addressing its gull problem.

Following calls for a hawk to be flown over the market to quell chip-hungry scavengers, the university has shared its own experience of the winged pest control method.

A year ago, the University of East Anglia turned to falconry in a bid to address its own trouble with flying pests - this time pigeons.

Seagulls fighting for chips on Norwich Market
Byline: Sonya Duncan

A gull prepares to divebomb against the backdrop of City Hall Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

And a spokesman for the university said the efforts have seen a 70pc decrease in pigeon activity on campus - which it owes to NBC Environment's pest control.

The company began flying Harris hawks over the campus more than a year ago and is now reaping the benefits.

A university spokesperson said: " “The UEA campus was designed so that virtually no part of campus is more than a few minutes walk from anywhere else. As good as this is for students travelling between classes it means many features of our distinctive university, such as the elevated walkways and concrete overhangs, are an attractive place for pigeons.

“It became clear that a number of key areas the pigeon guano was a serious issue for our students and staff, particularly wheelchair users.

“NBC was able to deliver a humane solution which fit the needs of our site. As a result we have seen a significant reduction in the potential risks posed to our staff, students and visitors.”

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Ryan Lawson, NBC's contract manager for the East of England, said that introducing birds of prey would be far and wide the most effective way of addressing the flying pests in the market area.

He said: "Netting is the only thing 100pc guaranteed because it provides a physical barrier, but in an open-air setting like a market this is far more difficult.

"Introducing a bird of prey like a hawk or falcon over the market would definitely be what I would recommend.

"Another method would be using either hawk kites or audio, which would play out high frequency distress calls to put off the gulls - but given that their noise is one of the main source of nuisance this would just be replacing one problem with another similar issue."