£80 fine for feeding seagulls on East Devon beaches
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Anyone who feeds a seagull on or near the beach in Sidmouth and neighbouring seaside towns can now be slapped with an £80 fine.
East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) new public space protection order (PSPO) means deliberately feeding the birds in certain areas is now legally prohibited.
Members of the public will be able to assist with enforcement of the order by informing on persistent offenders for any breaches.
Those responsible can be issued a fixed penalty notice that carries an £80 fine – but EDDC said enforcement will be proportionate to the offence.
EDDC chief executive Mark Williams said: “Every summer, local residents and visitors to the town beaches in East Devon are often affected by the aggressive behaviour of seagulls.
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“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.
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“It is as a direct response to this that we have introduced a prohibition on the deliberate feeding of seagulls with this new PSPO 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.”
Mr Williams said EDDC had asked for feedback on how to improve the situation – and the ‘overwhelming’ majority wanted the council to be able to fine people who feed seagulls.
The ban, which came into effect on Tuesday, covers the town beaches of Sidmouth, Beer, Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Seaton.
Over the next few weeks, EDDC 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.