The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds. It is an offence to kill or injure any birds or their nests or eggs unless acting under a licence and only in compliance with the conditions of that licence. 

A licence allows 'authorised persons' to undertake certain actions which would otherwise be illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but only to certain birds in certain circumstances.

'Authorised person' means the owner or occupier, or any person authorised by the owner or occupier of the land on which the action authorised takes place.





All non-lethal methods must be considered first, such as deterrent devices, and only if none are thought suitable can lethal measures then be considered. At that point consideration should be given to obtaining information on a relevant licence.

Noise from birds, that they leave droppings, or the fact that they open rubbish bags are NOT reasons under the Act. Killing or injuring birds for these reasons is an offence and offenders can be prosecuted.

More detail on licenses are available at the Central Government website

Our approach


Surveys (Coulson JC (1991) -  (detailed below) show the culling of seagulls is mainly unsuccessful and that the numbers after a cull will shortly increase back up to the original optimum number with younger birds taking up territories previously occupied by adults. It is therefore our position that Dover District Council have no plans to control Seagulls or any other wild birds in the district.

If gulls have built a nest on your roof, they may return year after year.  As they live up to 30 years, the problem could persist for a considerable time.  We recommend that you erect deterrent devices to prevent the birds building their nests i.e. bird proofing measures.  Preferably, this work should be done outside the nesting season, as interfering with their nests may be considered illegal.  Because the gulls are powerful and determined, proofing can be a difficult and dangerous operation.  It is best undertaken by a responsible, specialised Pest Control Company.

Who can I contact?


If you have any concerns regarding gulls on Dover Council Housing properties please contact:

Tel: 0300 0619 997

Before undertaking any action, except proofing outside of the nesting season, we recommend you seek expert advice on current legislation from  DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), tel: 0207 904 6000.

Professional treatment can be carried out by our preferred contractor  AGS One Pest Control. To get a quote and arrange treatment please contact them either by telephoning 01304 759033 or by emailing 

Our Environmental Protection Team:

Coulson, JC (1991) "The population dynamics of culling Herring Gulls Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls L.fuscus". In Perrins CM, JP Lebreton and GM Hirons (eds), Bird population studies. Relevance to conservation and management. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Please remember


Seagulls are part of our community.

They have incredible vision, an impressive sense of smell, an excellent memory and will eat anything!

Let’s follow this guidance so we can all live together nicely!

  • Please don’t feed the seagulls – they don’t need it and it makes them aggressive (their native food which they can find themselves is seafood, sea vegetation, insects, and worms)
  • Try not to go near seagulls that are nesting, nor their babies (even if they fall out of their nest)
  • Don’t put out your purple sacks too early for collection
  • If you are on a purple sack collection scheme you can request a protective hessian sack from our Waste Services Team by calling 01304 872428. 
  • If you see a dead gull/bird or other dead wildlife where the cause of death is unclear, please do not touch or move it and don't let your pet (especially dogs) go near. Report it to DEFRA 03000 200 301