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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Gull-proof rubbish sacks set to be introduced in Carlisle

Hungry seabirds which use Carlisle’s flimsy purple rubbish sacks like a “gull takeaway” may finally be about to meet their match.

Carlisle gull rubbish photo
The mess left by ripped bags in Aglionby Street

Councillors are on the brink of approving new bird-proof rubbish bags after residents say the current purple sacks offer insufficient protection from peckish sea birds looking for a snack.

The birds regularly rip open the bags, leaving unsightly rubbish spewed across roads and pavements.

Tough new ‘gull sacks’ would replace the purple bags, protecting rubbish from birds and vermin – and from so-called bin ratchers, criminals looking for information about someone’s identity which could then be used for fraud.

The move, which would benefit most of the remaining 5,538 Carlisle homes still on a weekly waste collection, is set to be approved by members of Carlisle City Council’s executive on Monday

The plan’s final hurdle will be when it is put to the vote at full council the following week and, if successful, it could be rolled out in September.

Councillor Elsie Martlew, the environment portfolio holder, described the current purple bin bags as a “gull takeaway” and said something had to be done because the current system did not comply with the clean-up Carlisle pledge.

She said: “It is going to be a mixture – properties that can have wheeled bins will get them because that’s the best option and those with no storage will be given gull sacks.”

Mrs Martlew said areas that such as Aglionby Street, Chiswick Street and Spencer Street looked terrible after the gulls had ripped open the bags.

She said: “It’s a gull takeaway in the streets without these gull sacks and it’s not fair for the guys who have to pick it up. It’s something extra that they don’t need and we should do everything we can to help them.”

In May, Carlisle City Council’s environment and economy overview and scrutiny panel was shown the gull sack – a tough and flexible container for household rubbish bags. Councillors agreed more bins would be less visually appealing and were impressed by the tough gull sack.

Officers have recommended that members of the Executive should approve the use of £69,539 to cover the cost of the preferred scheme.

If approved it would mean 2,629 purple sack properties being given a wheeled bin with the remainder given the re-useable polypropylene gull sacks.

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