• June 12, 2015


David Cameron MP: ‘don’t you just love him’! As we revealed recently the ‘Toryboy’ PM has had to make an embarrassing u-turn over his support for a cull of seagulls. Although he did confess that he had no love for the birds because one ‘had once taken the ham out of his sandwich’ (see link to our story):

Sea Gulls: Whatever Next on Cameron’s Hit List!

It turns out that it’s not just the British Prime Minister who has a ‘downer’ on our feathered (sea bird) friends.

Six weeks ago it was revealed that BAE systems which operate the aerodrome at Warton in Lancashire to test the military aircraft they produce over the Irish Sea had an application to kill a substantial number of lesser black-backed Gulls on the Ribble estuary, because of a perceived danger from bird-strikes to their test aircraft, refused.

BAE obviously thought they might get there way on this as in 2014 they were originally granted permission for the cull.

The cull was originally approved by Cameron’s fellow ‘Toryboy’ Minister, Owen Patterson, then Environment Minister.

Patterson seems to like culls, you may recall he also approved the badger cull and is generally thought to have eventually lost his job as Environment Minister for the failure of that badger cull and his inept handling of the UK summer floods in 2014.

Back in Lancashire BAE’s cull initiative was eventually blocked by ornithological protection body the RSPB who, to their credit, successfully fought the case all the way to the Court of Appeal. (Links to a news reports and a statement from RSPB):

Court Blocks Seagull Cull (Blackpool Gazette)

Ribble Estuary seagull cull blocked by Court of Appeal (BBC)

RSPB Statement in Response to the Outcome of Its Appeal Regarding the Ribble Gull Decision

Sadly there is some public support for dealing with what’s perceived as ‘the gull problem’. There is also a common misconception that the gull population has expanded.

However, a colleague member of the League who is a keen ornithologist said that the gull population has fallen and he highlighted some sites on the west coast of Mann once used by breeding pairs where few are now seen.

Meanwhile, perhaps BAE should spend less time worrying about lesser black-backed Gulls along the Ribble estuary and more time on ensuring their aircraft stay out of the path of other aircraft.

As we indicated recently we have diligently been analysing all the ‘Airprox board’ reports, that’s the body that monitors near misses by civil and military aircraft. In fact we have diligently waded through 235 reports for 2014.

No 147 (see link)

Involves a near collision between two aircraft (one a BAe Typhoon) near Fleetwood reported separation of the two aircraft was 100-500ft which is pretty close.

The eastern Irish Sea area has a jumble of air routes carrying civil airliner traffic we would be happier if BAe concentrated on ATC for its test aircraft rather than lesser black-backed gull!

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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