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NatureScot updates gull control licensing guidance
Lesser black-backed gulls are among the species which have declined in number.
The agency has responded to a decline in gull numbers.

The number of licences issued to control gulls in Scottish towns and cities during breeding season is expected to be reduced, after NatureScot updated its licensing guidance.

The guidance has been clarified to ensure applicants are aware that licences to destroy the nests or eggs of gulls, relocate chicks or, as a very last resort, kill gulls, will only be issued in cases where there are clear public health and safety issues that cannot be resolved otherwise.

The move follows a decline in numbers of all five breeding species of gull in Scotland. Last year’s Seabirds Count census, led by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, revealed a significant drop in gull populations since the previous census in 2000. The black-headed gull saw the biggest decline, with numbers down by 75 per cent. Even the herring gull, which saw the smallest drop, still declined by 44 per cent.

Avian influenza has had a significant effect on gull numbers in the last couple of years, with changes in land use and food availability also having an impact.

Liz McLachlan, NatureScot’s licensing manager, said: “Our role is to balance the conservation and protection of species with public interests such as safeguarding people from health and safety risks. To make sure we get that balance right, it’s vital that our licences take into account the latest science and evidence.

“The ongoing declines in gull species in Scotland reported in the latest seabird census is very concerning. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure everyone is aware of our licensing approach, to ensure that populations are protected, and where possible restored, while health and safety risks to the public are minimised.”

Image © Lorne Gill/NatureScot

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.