Exeter seagull chaos is 'being monitored'

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19
-Credit: (Image: James Madge)


Anger has been shared over ongoing carnage caused by seagulls ripping open bin bags left out for collection along a busy shopping and residential area in Exeter which is still being 'monitored' by Exeter City Council (ECC) years later. This week, visitors to Fore Street - known for being a haven for independent businesses - have condemned the street for being persistently strewn with litter early in the morning after bin bags have been torn apart by ravenous seagulls.

It is then cleaned up first thing by street cleansing workers employed by ECC. When DevonLive reported the issue in 2021 after frustrated business owners called upon the council to come up with a permanent solution, ECC assured it was looking at alternative options for Fore Street and other similar areas in the city centre.

However, the issue still remains three years later with the council now stating it is continuing to 'monitor' the situation. In the meantime, people are continuing to have to wade through the mess each day.

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Among them is commuter James Madge. He said: "The problem has been going on for years and it lets the city down. This is a main route in.

"I have been commuting into the city for over 10 years by bike and have seen residents and commuters walking through the rubbish, or having to risk going into the road to avoid it.

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19
Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19 -Credit:James Madge

"I have seen dirty nappies, sanitary items and lots of other disgusting waste spread all over the place on a weekly basis. The council responded to me and said it's an ongoing issue.

"Surely a couple of communal bin areas situated near the top and bottom of the hill could help instead of that seating area that was put in, or some seagull-proof bags to start?"

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19
Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19 -Credit:James Madge

Advice has been issued by ECC to local businesses and residents in Fore Street to help with the issue.

An Exeter City Council spokesman said: "This is an issue that we have been aware of for some time, and we continue to manage in the best way we can. Residents can help us by making sure bags are as secure as possible and are not put out before 6pm on the night before collection.

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19
Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19 -Credit:James Madge

"Businesses should not put rubbish in black bags and should ensure they have a trade waste contract in place.

“Our teams are regularly sent to clear up when problems do arise, and this is a situation that we continue to monitor.”

In 2021, Fore Street shopkeepers told DevonLive how they wanted the council to issue residents with seagull-proof bags and for people to be mindful of when they put their rubbish out.

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19James Madge
Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19 -Credit:James Madge

In the council's response, it confirmed it provided a weekly collection of waste for the residents of the city centre but due to the nature of some of the properties within the area there are very limited waste storage facilities which means rubbish is put out in bags rather than bins on to the street.

It added Seagull Deterrent Sacks had been issued to properties in the Fore Street area but due to them not being retrieved after collections, it has caused other issues as the sacks then become 'obstacles and trip hazards' for the public trying to negotiate their way on the street.

Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19
Litter captured strewn across Fore Street, Exeter, in the morning on June 19 -Credit:James Madge

It said: "Other sacks have been lost or stolen after the collections and are not reported to the council so replacements can be issued.

"The council is looking at alternative options for these types of areas in the city centre for the safe and secure presentation of the waste."