COUNCILLORS are working hard to stop rowdy colonies of nuisance seagulls nesting on a busy business estate.

The gulls, which are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, have made the flat roofs of properties on Severalls Industrial Estate their home for many years.

Residents of Highwoods are becoming increasingly frustrated with the noise and mess created by the animals near their homes.

Ward councillor Beverly Oxford (Ind) said the area's councillors were doing everything in their power to try and curb the issue.

She said: "Flat roofs are perfect for seagulls to create nests and many businesses on the estate have them.

"We are trying to get the businesses to net their roofs or cover their gullies. If they cannot nest they cannot stay apparently.

"Unfortunately some businesses we have contacted have not come back to us.

"There is nothing in law which says the council can force businesses to net their roofs.

"I am having to try and find out which business is owned by which landlord and then contact the landlords directly.

"They are an absolute nuisance, causing pandemonium, making noise and mess, but until the companies decide to do something there is not much we can do."

A range of measures have been trialled in the past to stop the nuisance birds from making their homes on the estate including flying birds of prey in the skies above it.

More recently, Mrs Oxford arranged for a drone to fly over the estate to identify nest locations and even called in Environmental Health to check on reports some businesses were feeding the animals - claims which were disproved.

She said: "I am trying really hard and I won't give up but I don't know if we'll ever get the problem sorted."

Essex County Councillor Anne Turrell (Lib Dem, Mile End and Highwoods) said she often received complaints from residents about the issue.

"I understand the issues people have with the noise and I know the council are doing all they can do," she said.

"It is something I hear about quite a lot from residents, particularly in the last month. But it is not a new problem and has been going on for a very long time."

The reason why the gulls flock to the industrial park as opposed to the seaside remains a mystery.