CONTROVERSIAL plans for a gull cull in the city next year will be on the table next week when councillors discuss how to tackle the problem.

Worcester City Council's environment committee will be discussing, behind closed doors, the potential legal case for a cull next year as part of its preparations to stop the "nuisance" birds from growing in population.

Natural England said some gulls could be culled if they proved to be a health and safety risk.

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Cllr Alan Amos, who strongly supports a cull, called for council bosses to start drawing up a legal case to start culling gulls in Worcester by next year due to “growing anger and frustration” by residents and businesses.

He said the council’s current plan to move the eggs had been an “abject failure” as there were now more gulls in the city than ever before and the law was putting the welfare of the “vile creatures” before the safety of residents and businesses and urged the council to 'test the law.'

He said: “What do we have to lose? Current polices have proved to be a waste of time and money. “What is the alternative? More of the same old tired failures?”

Cllr Joy Squires, chairman of the environment committee, said the motion was “premature” as the legal case would be discussed by councillors next week (October 29) and a "dramatic" decision should not be made until then.

She said: "I don't think at all it is something I can support but on the other hand I feel it is absolutely imperative that all actions are explored."

An amended motion calling on the environment committee rather than council bosses to explore the possibility of a cull was eventually passed.

Cllr Amos said "nothing" would come from the environment committee's discussions and the council would only end up wasting more money.

The council has had a general licence for gull control, granted by Natural England, for several years but all general licences were withdrawn in April because they were believed to be “legally flawed” as the onus for satisfactorily complying with them was given to the council rather than Natural England.

Withdrawing the licence meant the council could not start replacing gull eggs until the end of May which proved to be too late as many had already hatched.

The council said Worcestershire Regulatory Services – which handles gull control – had already been looking at culling throughout the year.

Whilst it is illegal to kill herring gulls, a ‘limited' number of black-backed gulls could be culled if the council applied for a licence. The council was told some aggressive adult birds and their chicks could be killed if they proved to be a health and safety risk.

Natural England said gulls could only be culled as part of wider measures and only as a last resort.

Cllr Chris Mitchell said he did not have "great confidence" in the council when it said it would reviewing its gull control measures as it had already explored every other method and failed.

He said the problem was getting worse year-on-year and residents were "absolutely sick and tired" of the problems they posed.

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said the gull population had "undoubtedly" grown in the last year.