Call for council to buy £5,000 “gull proof bin”


A SEAGULL-WEARY harbour chief is calling on the council to spend £5,000 on a “gull proof bin” to halt the blight of scavenging birds.

Members of the Dunbar Harbour Trust are pushing for East Lothian Council to buy a high-tech bin after gulls began raiding bins for takeaway scraps.

The “Big Belly” bin features a hatch opening for rubbish, which would prevent the bold birds from snapping up leftovers and strewing litter over the popular tourist spot.

The pricey receptacles are already used in a nearby town to stop overflowing bins but now habour chefs think they could also tackle the problem of pesky seagulls.

Purchasing the bin would cost between £4,000 and £5,000 – although there is an option to lease one for between £1,000 and £2,000 a year.

The "big belly" bins
The “big belly” bins


Alasdair Swan, chairman of the Dunbar Harbour Trust, is leading the calls to install the cutting edge bins at the waterfront.

He said: “What happens at the moment is that the public come down with their takeaways and, generally speaking, they try to do their best to put them in the bins.

“They already have bins around the harbour, but the big cardboard packages for pizza or meals are quite difficult to stuff in the bins.

“The seagulls have no difficulty pulling them out and distributing them around the harbour, which is very unsightly.”

The proposed solution for Dunbar – the “Big Belly” bin, which was invented in the USA – has a number of other high-tech features.

It has a solar-powered compression mechanism which allows it to pack in five times the rubbish as an average bin.

And it also texts council binmen when it is full – letting them know that it needs to be emptied.

Mr Swan is now calling on the town to follow in the footsteps of Berwick harbour – which has two of the groundbreaking bins – by installing the bin by the beginning of the next tourist season.

Gulls have been a nuisance this summer - with many reports of attacks
Gulls have been a nuisance this summer – with many reports of attacks


Trial programmes using the bins have also taken place in Edinburgh and Dundee.

A spokesman for East Lothian Council said: “We are trialling two specialised bins at North Berwick to help deal with the problem of bins overflowing – particularly from bulky carry-out food wrappers – which use solar power to drive a compacting plate to compact the litter and significantly increase the capacity of the bins.

“Although not specifically designed to be ‘gull proof’, by default birds are unable to get into the bins, so it serves this function as well.

“Although these bins have proven useful, there is quite a high associated cost, so further assessment would have to be carried out before they are rolled out further.”

Audacious seagulls have made headlines recently, with reports of the seaside pest attacking beach-goers and pets alike.

In a recent interview prime minister David Cameron called for a “big conversation” on how to deter the birds.