Leader, July 29 2022

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Dead sea birds: whose responsibility?

Although it has not been confirmed that the innumerable dead and dying sea birds washed up on Kintyre’s beaches and coastlines have avian influenza, it seems safe to assume, given that it is a new phenomenon coinciding with confirmation of the virus on Islay and Arran, islands on either side of Kintyre.

DEFRA and the council continue to make assurances that the risk to human life is low, but beach walks remain rather unpleasant.

Few beaches on Kintyre are free of carcasses – the east and south coasts have fared better than the west but have not avoided it completely.

Whose responsibility is it to remove the dead birds?

Everyone agrees it is down to the landowners but how does that apply to beaches, where the Crown Estate is the owner of the seabed and foreshore, which is where most of the dead birds can be found?

Should the council be expected to lead the clean-up operation, as other Scottish local authorities have, even if it is not its statutory responsibility?