The deliberate feeding of seagulls in East Devon is now legally prohibited

£80 fixed penalty notice for people found breaching East Devon District Council’s new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

The deliberate feeding of seagulls on or near East Devon’s seashores and promenades is now legally prohibited under a new public spaces protection order (PSPO) introduced by East Devon District Council.

The ban, which legally came into effect on Tuesday 2 May 2017, covers the town beaches of Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton.

Anyone found guilty of breaching the PSPO by providing or depositing food for consumption by seagulls on the promenades, beaches or foreshore of East Devon can be issued with a fixed penalty notice, which carries a fine of £80.

Members of the public will be able to assist with enforcement of the PSPO by providing the council with information about any incidents involving breaches of the order. In addition, officers from our environmental health team can provide advice, information and enforcement support as many council officers working around the district are able to issue fixed penalty notices. However, all the council’s enforcement work is proportionate to the offence being committed and the consequences of it.

Signs requesting no feeding of seagulls have been in place for many years now, as has a public education programme, but the PSPO will hopefully strengthen the impact of signage and allow the council to pursue offenders who have been clearly identified.

Over the next few weeks the council will be raising awareness of the PSPO through the installation of further signage, as well as distributing informative leaflets to educate the public on why seagulls should not be fed.

Commenting on the seagull PSPO, East Devon District Council’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Williams said:

“During every summer local residents and visitors to the town beaches in East Devon are often affected by the aggressive behaviour of seagulls. The council has done a significant amount of work on the cause of this problem over the past four years, including engaging with local businesses and the owners of buildings on which the birds nest. On the beaches, members of the public can be affected by gulls stealing food, causing minor injuries and distress, as well as fouling places where people like to sit and eat. It is as a direct response to this that we have introduced a prohibition on the deliberate feeding of seagulls with this new public spaces protection order covering our seashores and promenades.

“The PSPO will allow us to take more formal action against persistent or deliberate offenders, whose actions have been seen to impact on other people trying to enjoy the beaches and seafronts. We have asked for feedback and ideas from members of the public, as well as local businesses, building owners and town councils on how we could improve the situation to a point where the birds could follow their natural habits and become less of a problem to humans. We have listened to what people have had to say and the overwhelming majority wanted us to be able to fine people seen deliberately feeding the gulls and throwing food litter which just encourages aggressive behaviour.”