Feeling peckish? British council bans biscuits to beat the birds

LONDON, Aug 30, 2006 (AFP) – They are an integral part of British tea-time, but councillors in one city are having to forgo biscuits with their daily cuppa to deal with the growing problem of aggressive seagulls. Bristol City Council in the west of England has calculated it could save 25,000 pounds (37,000 euros, 47,500 dollars) a year if it axed the mammoth amount of biscuits staff munch at meetings and official hearings.

The money could then be used to finance a scheme to curb the city’s soaring seagull population by dipping the birds’ eggs in oil so they do not hatch.

Deputy council leader Steve Comer came up with the idea while he was probing the local authority’s catering budget and a colleague was looking into the oil-dipping trial.

“The cost of the scheme was around 30,000 pounds and I said, ‘I think I’ve found 25,000’ — by axing the biscuits,” he said.

“It just seems like a luxury we can do without.”

More than 2,000 pairs of seagulls are thought to be living in Bristol city centre, where there is a plentiful supply of fast food litter for them to feast on.

Numbers are estimated to rise by 17 percent a year.

The gulls are notoriously noisy — particularly during the mating seas