The tallest cherry picker in the UK is currently in action in the centre of Worcester as part of a programme of measures to control the number of gulls in the city.
The machine can be extended to up to 39 metres, or can go up vertically to 19 metres and then reach out 20 metres horizontally – making it possible to get to gulls’ nests that have previously been out of reach.
It is being used to find and remove gull nests and potential nesting materials from roofs across the city centre, including the historic Guildhall. The hope is that, when the birds return in the spring, it will deter them from nesting in these locations.
Cllr Marc Bayliss, Leader of the city council, said: ‘We have doubled the budget for tackling gull numbers in the city to £60,000 and thanks to that we have been able to take the innovative step of hiring in this impressive machine to really make an impact on the birds’ nesting habits.’
Because all the nests are currently empty, the city council does not need a Natural England licence to carry out this work as there is no threat to the health of the birds.
Hiring in the cherry picker is the latest step in an expanded programme of work to control gull numbers in the city, which has also included the regular flying of hawks, and the removal of gull eggs and nests under licence from Natural England.
The cherry picker is also allowing the gulls’ favoured nesting spots to be mapped and for photos of those locations to be taken. That allows council officers to discuss with the buildings’ owners how they can take steps to make their roofs gull-proof.
The city council is also taking the opportunity to install a gull-proof wire-mesh cage over a chimney at the Grade I Listed Guildhall, where a particularly aggressive pair of gulls have nested in recent years.
The cherry picker will also be used to install two other gull-proof cages at two nest sites in Britannia Square and to remove nests from the roof of Lower Wick firm NAL.