Sellafield mulls gull cull

26 February 2010

A plan is under consideration to cull seagulls at the Sellafield nuclear site in northern England amid concerns that some have been swimming in open-air storage ponds containing plutonium and radioactive waste, The Times newspaper reported. "They fly in and float around on the open waste ponds and act as a gateway to poison the wider area," claimed Martin Forwood of anti-nuclear group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE). Ali McKibbin, media relations manager at Sellafield, said that, while a mass cull is under discussion, the seagull problem was "under control", that there was no danger to the public and any methods used to kill the birds would be humane. She said that drugged bait would probably be the method used, although no final decision had yet been made. McKibbin added, "A professional pest control organization is employed to manage the number of gulls. All activities are done under licence in a safe and humane manner that causes the gulls minimum distress and suffering." She noted that some 350 animal carcasses - mostly birds but also some small mammals - were being stored in an industrial freezer at Sellafield as, under Environment Agency rules, any animal that dies on the site must be treated as nuclear waste as it may have been exposed to radiation. They will eventually be disposed of in a special landfill facility at Sellafield.

Filed under: Wildlife