Call for wheelie bins on beachfront

A STONEHAVEN community councillor has called for wheelie bins to be placed along the beach-front to bring an end to what he describes as an, “Ongoing saga.”

Over the past year, Allan Sutherland has been in contact with Aberdeenshire Council on a number of occasions expressing his concern over the litter problem along Stonehaven beach, much of which is caused by seagulls going into the bins to retrieve food.

In order to address the problem, the Council placed nets on top of the bins along the beach-front in the hope that this would deter the birds however, this proved unsuccessful, and £5000 was spent on 25 new bins, many of which were placed along the beach.

The new bins have a pyramid roof and so the seagulls cannot perch on the top to take food out, despite this, the seagulls are undeterred and are still able to reach into the bins as they are uncovered therefore, the beach-front continues to be covered in litter, especially at the end of a busy summer day.

Last summer, prior to the purchasing of the new bins, Mr Sutherland contacted the Council suggesting that wheelie bins be placed along the beach as the seagulls would be unable to lift the lids to access the litter.

As part of an experiment, Mr Sutherland placed four wheelie bins along the beach-front and during the experiment he noted an improvement to the litter problem he said, “The wheelie bins had no rubbish beside them, yet the normal bins had still been raided by the birds.”

He then approached the Council with his findings, however, the Council expressed a number of issues with the placement of wheelie bins along the beach, they did however say they would have the litter patrol spend an extra hour on the beach during summer.

Mr Sutherland says there has been, “a slight improvement” however he does not understand spending all of that money when the placement of wheelie bins, he believes, could solve, “a several year saga.”

He said, “In these days when we are cutting class room assistants and care workers, I don’t understand why, instead of getting four or five wheelie bins, they spend £5000 on this.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillor Graeme Clark shares Mr Sutherland’s concern over the mess created by the seagulls he said, “The reason I am so worried about this at the moment is that the Horizon group is preparing for the Beautiful Scotland competition and we don’t want chip papers all over the place.

“Stonehaven is a great place and the last thing we want to see is litter everywhere. So Allan and myself thought that lidded bins could help stop this happening.”

However he explains that when he discussed this possibility with the Council they claimed the wheelie bins would be, “unsightly.”

Councillor Clark also shares Mr Sutherland’s disbelief that this is such a hard problem to solve, he explained, “I have been to Canada and I have seen bear-proof bins, surely if you can bear-proof a bin we must be able to seagull-proof them.”

Councillor Clark does acknowledge that the most recent purchase of bins did make some difference but he is, “disappointed,” that even after spending £5000 the problem has not been solved.

However he is optimistic about the bins one day being seagull proof he said, “It will be an uphill fight but I am sure we will get there in the end.”