TRADERS in Gloucester’s Gate streets could face new fines if they leave their rubbish bags out overnight for seagulls to open.
Gloucester City Council’s proposals could see businesses only being allowed to leave their rubbish out between 6am to 10am, or else face £100 fines each time the rules are broken.
But some fear it still will not be enough.
City resident Hussain Vorajee said: “This has been an ongoing problem for years I but don’t think the council are doing enough.
“Seagulls are ripping the bags apart which make Gloucester’s top tourist areas look bad.
“I’ve had visitors tell me they’re not coming to Gloucester again because of the rubbish. People need to take more responsibility.”
Richard Foot, joint manager of Scoot 69 in Southgate Street, said: “The rubbish is bad for tourism and bad for business. What we need is proper wheelie bins and businesses to stop just throwing their rubbish out.”
Trade leaders from the Federation of Small Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce will be consulted on the proposed fines next week before any final decision is taken.
Councillors and traders are also calling on residents and businesses to take more responsibility for their rubbish as reports continue of seagulls tearing bags open and dragging litter across the streets.
Yesterday morning, bags full of rubbish were spotted torn open and strewn across the non-pedestrianised end of Southgate Street at about 6.30am. Similar scenes can usually be seen before 7am in the city centre, before street cleaners tidy things up.
Traders in the Gate streets have also been encouraged to use seagull-proof bags to stop the birds from tearing them open.
Councillor Jim Porter, cabinet member for environment, said: “We are determined to solve this problem so we want to limit the amount of hours that traders can leave their rubbish out for collection. It’s also down to the residents in the area to keep their littering under control. We feel that the current fines for residents who litter are appropriate.”
Mr Porter said city council contractors Amey and other trade waste collectors offer hessian bags to stop the birds from tearing them open, which businesses have to pay for. Earlier this year, Gloucester City Council introduced fines for anyone caught feeding the birds.
Other alternatives for combating the gulls have included oiling their eggs and business leaders have recently called for a cull of the so-called ‘rats on wings’.
City council leader Councillor Paul James said: “Residents and businesses are leaving their black bags out to be attacked by seagulls and they shouldn’t be doing that.”