Seagulls get the sack in rubbish blitz

Scarborough Council unveil their new seagull proof bags. David Bebbington ,with Cllr Godfrey Allanson ,Andrew Jenkinson,Waste Manager Harry Briggs. pic Richard Ponter 162102b 162101a
Scarborough Council unveil their new seagull proof bags. David Bebbington ,with Cllr Godfrey Allanson ,Andrew Jenkinson,Waste Manager Harry Briggs. pic Richard Ponter 162102b 162101a

Tougher sacks will be handed out to seagull ‘hot spots’ as Scarborough Council’s weapon of choice to tackle the “scavenging” menace and “win back the streets”.

As part of its drive to reduce the nuisance caused by the gulls, the council is introducing ‘seagull proof sacks’ which they hope will dramatically slash litter problems.

The Scarborough News exclusively revealed the council were looking to splash out £10,000 on the super-sturdy bin bags in November.

In narrow streets across the borough, where wheelie bins cannot be used, plastic bin bags are used as a replacement. Bags left out for collection are ravaged by the attacking gulls searching for their next meal.

The authority hopes the new sacks will dramatically reduce and ultimately eliminate such attacks which leaves rubbish scattered across the street.

Cllr Andrew Jenkinson said: “This the start of a long campaign to basically win the streets back. There is so much damaged caused by them.

“I am delighted that these sacks will soon be in use in our borough.

“While for some people no visit to the seaside would be complete without seeing and hearing seagulls, for others they are a genuine nuisance and I think anything we can legally do to reduce the problems they cause can only be a good thing for all concerned.”

There will be 3,000 tough, woven polypropylene bags with a high resistance to pecking and tearing, with a secure Velcro fastening lid handed out in Scarborough, Whitby and Filey.

The chairman of that task group, Cllr Godfrey Allanson, said: “Legal methods to reduce the problems associated with gulls are limited and therefore we are taking a step by step approach, using a number of initiatives, which when combined together, should make a noticeable difference in the longer term.

“The seagull proof sacks should prevent gulls from scavenging at rubbish bags, which currently causes much inconvenience to our local residents and businesses and results in additional clean up bills for our Environmental Services team.”

“I’ve seen people put bags out early in the morning and the gulls had already ripped them open.

“We are talking about eventually reducing the problem and the population of the herring gulls.

The £10,000 worth of sacks are just one of a number of initiates the council is introducing to combat the nuisance problems as a direct result of recommendations made by its Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee task group review.

Other measures the council has already taken include writing to local commercial property owners in the problem areas advising them on netting their buildings to prevent gull nesting and adding detailed advice and information to its website.

They have also developed an online ‘gull mugging’ reporting form, which allows anyone that experiences nuisance behaviour or an attack by a seagull to report it to the council to get a clearer picture of the scale of the problem across the borough.