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Ilfracombe residents urged to feed their caddies - not the birds

[Friday 17 August 2012]

Photo - Seagulls attacking rubbish in Ilfracombe

People in Ilfracombe are being encouraged to use the district's food waste recycling service, to help reduce the risk of seagull attacks on rubbish.

On Thursday 30 August, North Devon Council, Ilfracombe Town Council, Street Champions and other volunteers will be taking to the streets to talk to residents about the problem. They will also be giving information on the food waste recycling service, how it works and what else can be done to help deter the birds.

Ilfracombe Town Councillor, Anne Thomas, says: "We live in a fabulous town, with a great community. However, our coastal location means seagulls are never too far away, especially when household rubbish is put out for collection. I was shocked to see for myself the state of our town one morning, after the birds had attacked rubbish that had been left out the night before. The refuse collection team and street cleaners do a great job in cleaning up after the seagulls, but we should all be playing more of a role in preventing these attacks from happening in the first place."

North Devon Council's Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Rodney Cann, says: "One of the reasons why seagulls attack rubbish bags is because of the food waste that's put in them. So we want people to get into the habit of using the food waste recycling service, which we operate across North Devon. That way, food is taken out of black bags and into a lockable caddy, cutting down on the risk of seagulls causing a mess, while also adding to the district's overall recycling efforts."

North Devon Council has tried a variety of initiatives in the past to tackle the problem of seagulls attacking black bags. These include talking to residents and offering them heavy blankets to cover their bags with, bringing the town's rubbish collection times forward, asking residents to put their bags out on the morning of collection rather than the night before, and subsidising gull-proof bags for residents to buy to help protect their rubbish. However, the problem continues to occur, particularly during the summer months.

So, on Thursday 30 August, officers, councillors and volunteers will be going out to Church Street, High Street, Springfield Road, Oxford Grove and Portland Street to speak to residents face to face, to raise awareness of the food waste recycling service. They will also be handing out kitchen and kerbside caddies for households to start using the service straight away.

Local ward member, Cllr Paul Yabsley, says: "Seagull problems are completely caused by food, either by unenlightened people feeding them or careless people putting food in bins. We simply need to get wise in this town."

Free kitchen caddies are available to all households in North Devon. The contents of these caddies can then be emptied into green wheelie bins. If residents are not served by a wheelie bin service, they can also ask for a free kerbside caddy, which will be emptied every week along with other recyclables.

To ask for a free caddy, or for advice about North Devon Council's recycling services, please contact customer services or phone 01271 374776.

Further information about the council's recycling services can be found on the council's website. A facebook page, focussing on waste and recycling in North Devon (external site), has also been set up.

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