Permanent solution to keep gulls out of Wells' bin bags being investigated

The bin bags on Beach Road which have been ripped open by sea gulls.

The bin bags on Beach Road which have been ripped open by sea gulls. - Credit: Submitted

People in Wells-next-the-Sea are calling on measures to be put in place to help combat the issue of seagulls ripping open bin bags and spreading litter around the Quay.

The problem has been raised on Facebook following instances of bin bags being destroyed along Beach Road, leaving a collection of waste.

Currently, black bin bags are left on the street for which Seco, NNDC contractors, will collect either late at night or in the morning.

North Norfolk district council did identify the issue on August 2 and said Serco placed two 1,100 litre bins adjacent to the Beach Road public toilets, as an interim measure. They confirmed discussions are ongoing to investigate a more permanent solution.

One of those permanent solutions is a lock-up shed, to store the bags in. 

Paul Watson, who is the Serco operative in the town is hoping for the lock-up.

Serco placed two 1100 litre bins adjacent to the Beach Road public toilets, as an interim measure.

Serco placed two 1100 litre bins adjacent to the Beach Road public toilets, as an interim measure. - Credit: Paul Watson

The 40-year-old has been starting shifts early to help pick up rubbish that has escaped from broken bin bags.

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“When I empty the bins I take them to a sorting place that will be accessible to the cage lorry to be picked up in the evenings,” he said.

“The only trouble is with bin bags lying around you can’t always stop the seagulls from ripping the bags open when there is food inside.

“We can't always blame the seagulls, once I leave I have no control over how full the bins get.

"It doesn't help when people see a bin full and they just try and squeeze more into it, with high winds and rain, and the seagulls about, it’s going to happen.”

Mr Watson has received praise from people across the town, including the town council, for the hard work he puts in to keep the coastal town tidy.

Greg Hewitt, Wells town clerk, said that the town council met with representatives of NNDC earlier in the year and discussed a compound to store the bags on land belonging to NNDC alongside the Beach Road toilets.

He added that the town councillors gave their support to NNDC’s proposal but to date, the compound has not been constructed.

Focus on Wells Next The Sea. Pictured: Wells Quay.
COPY:Sally Withey
FOR:EDP Norfolk

The issue of seagulls ripping open bin bags left on the street of Wells-next-the-sea have been on the rise. - Credit: IAN BURT

Mr Hewitt added: “The amount of black bags stored on the Quay overnight is a concern, particularly because the gulls tear them open which allows the rubbish to be spread across the Quay. Of greater concern is that the rubbish can then end up in the water and on the salt marshes.”

The clerk echoed the praise for Mr Watson, whilst adding his support to a place that rubbish can be stored overnight.

“Currently Serco has an excellent operative emptying the bins and keeping the Quay clean during the day.

“The town council would like to see a solution whereby the waste can be properly stored overnight for collection the following morning or a late-night collection to remove the waste from the streets. It is not really satisfactory to store waste overnight in the open on the streets.”

The responsibility of the bins lays with the north Norfolk district council who said the increase in tourism means an increase in waste.

A spokeswoman from NNDC said: “Due to current international travel restrictions and the resultant rise of the ‘staycation,’ we are experiencing a much larger volume of visitors to the area.

“Whilst this is fantastic for our local economy it does create much larger volumes of waste. We have provided additional litter bins throughout the summer and our contractors work hard, often late into the evening, to empty these litter bins so they are available to visitors into the evening.

"We can confirm that Serco and officers from the Council have discussed the issue and, at this stage, it was felt that the of the temporary bins provided a suitable solution to the current issue.  This will be closely monitored throughout the remainder of the summer.”

“Even with the additional resources, there are occasions where the waste volume surpasses the capacity of the crews and to keep litter bins from overflowing they are emptied and the bags left for collection early the next morning.”

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