Rubbish reaction

Don’t our councillors and elected MP ever walk around the streets of Bath? Are they oblivious to the daily sight of torn black bin liners – bulging with refuse and spilling their contents all over pavement and road?

strteet rubbish

It’s not an isolated thing either. Whether it’s Great Pulteney Street,  London Road or the main street through Larkhall you can stop and take daily pictures of one ugly mess after another.

Why is it – when you feature this problem – elected officials take it as an attack against the refuse service and the morale of the men  who have to collect ratepayer’s rubbish in all winds and weathers?

What Bath Newseum is calling for is a city-wide conference to debate a more effective way of introducing a more controlled and protected collection system. Surely making the job easier and cleaner would be a morale booster?

A conference where the public could be invited and asked to comment on issues they have with bagging and sorting rubbish and the Council could consider ways in which street refuse could be better protected – or even deposited – for collection.

refuse collectors

Reacting to a Bath Newseum image of a pavement ‘splattering’ our local MP suggested l contact Council Connect and tell them where the broken bag is.

Ben, they are going to get an awful lot of telephone calls if we ALL started doing that for each individual sighting.

It would also mean joining our feathered ‘friends’ the gulls and just peck at the problem. It needs an overall strategy in place. A fresh look at a continual and growing city-wide issue and one that impacts on our World Heritage status and our reputation as a historic venue visited by more than four million people a year.

Maybe someone would sit up and listen if Bath citizens did contact @ccbathnes every time  they spotted a ‘splattering’ – something even more offensive than a flying gull relieving itself overhead. As far as street mess is concerned the gulls do it naturally – we should not!


Of course, bags should not be put out days before they are due for collection. It’s the old ‘flush pull’ attitude of once you’ve depressed the handle your waste is someone else’s problem.

I would argue that mindset finds rubbish bags tossed outside regardless of when the bin men are coming. It also goes of course for takeaway litter – coffee cups and burger boxes – thrown out of car windows along streets and into roadside verges.

Can we talk about this and involve everyone. It’s our city and we all have a duty to it. Talking up community, pride and responsibility might not be such a bad thing.


  1. Hi Richard

    Strangely enough there’s a new Facebook group called “Streets of Shame – Bath” which looks at this very problem. You might be interested in taking a peep.

    Alan Stainer


  2. In general it seems to be a gull problem. Are there any other Councils, seaside ones probably, that we can learn from?…. As for the minor problem of human littering, I’m sure (and this get me into trouble!…) the re-introduction of ‘The Stocks’ with appropriate publicity and enforcement would soon eliminate that aspect! And, how about, an ‘Anti litter Week’ where some of our public employees such as Police, Traffic Wardens, Parks staff etc issue on the spot penalty notices?… How many are currently issued in Bath every year?….

    Bob D

  3. I so agree with you! As a relative newcomer to Bath I get very distressed by the amount of rubbish lying around, torn black bags etc – everything that only encourages another problem – the gulls. But please tell me how I as an individual can help improve the situation! Bath is a lovely city, it’s such a pity.

    Trish Fosbury


  4. Certainly needs some form of innovation rather than more of the same and hoping that doing the same thing will produce different results. The challenge is to find innovations which ensure matters improve. So for example whilst insisting on gull proof bags would be a possible way of protecting rubbish from attack, if someone puts their rubbish out in just a plain black bag what next? If you don’t collect it because its not in a gull bag then it causes more suffering for neighbours than the person themselves.

    However you need to give people a chance first. So yes lets have gull proof bags in areas where there is a problem – its not generally an issue for our road in Weston but if its easier to give them to all then so be it. Lets also think about the collection timings. At present the instruction is to have the rubbish presented for collection by 7:30am. For some people (for whatever reason) that is too early and so it tends to mean rubbish being put out the night before which in turn allows for more time for attacks (be that vermin or drunk humans wanting a proxy football). I happen to know that only our green bin gets collected early so only put that out overnight and then put the rest out when I am up in the morning. Perhaps this timing also needs a rethink. The final one would be to look at locations where rubbish storage is a known issue (e.g. where the council won’t collect food waste for recycling) and consider whether a second collection would be helpful – assuming we don’t want to put big bins on the streets. (Although arguably they’d be better than mess!).

    After that its probably time enforcement got serious – not just on wrong timings but also on those who ignore the recycling provision. Maybe dual tasking the parking attendants to investigate (or at least notify a central point) rubbish wrongly put out could be a cheaper way of doing this.

    (sorry – bit long!)

  5. Richard, Good points. This has become one of my pet hates since living in Bath and I seem to be dealing with the seagull-friendly rubbish bags of inconsiderate neighbours every week here in Edward Street. Why not put your case to the representatives of the council who come to the Bath City Conference? 12pm til 5pm on Friday 1st July. I can’t go this year, unfortunately. Sally 🙂

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