Small things can make a big difference: Tenby’s Seagull Proof Bags

We often hear about big changes that have been implemented and dramatically changed services, but sometimes small changes can have a big impact. At the All Wales Continuous Improvement Conference we heard about Tenby’s Seagull Proof Bags and the difference they made. Tracy Wornham explains more.

Original photo of Tenby by Dave Smith (Creative Commons License) Llun wreiddiol o Ddinbych y Pysgod gan Dave Smith (Trwydded Creatrive Commons)

Original photo of Tenby by Dave Smith (Creative Commons License)

A number of concerns were being raised about waste littering resort streets after attacks by gulls and other animals on black bag waste left out for collection. As well as being unsightly and unhygienic, it also causes problems for waste collection and street cleaning services. Tenby Town Council approached Pembrokeshire County Council during the first part of 2014 to see what could be done to improve matters. Following a meeting, a proposal to trial the introduction of reusable seagull proof bags was developed and agreed.

What We Did

A number of domestic properties within a small area of Tenby (covering six streets) were selected for a trial where problems of black bag litter were most evident. We also made sure the trial included a mix of different homes e.g. houses and flats. The area selected was also looked after by the same waste collection and street cleaning teams, so consistent feedback could be obtained from them.

Tenby Town Council issued a letter to all households inviting them to take part in the scheme, 73 households responded requesting bags. The trial began on 2 June and ended on the 1 August.

What We Achieved

In order to judge how well the trial went, a short one sided questionnaire was issued to all households who took part in the trial – the response rate was nearly 40%. Only one person did not want to see the scheme continue. Generally, feedback was very positive.

We also obtained the views of waste collection and street cleaning employees, feedback again was very positive.

This work also links into two of the national performance indicators, namely:

STS005a The Cleanliness Indicator

STS005b The percentage of highways and relevant land inspected of a high or acceptable standard of cleanliness. This indicator forms part of our Corporate Performance Management Scorecard and is monitored on a quarterly basis. This performance data is presented to our Corporate Management Board, Cabinet and Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee on a quarterly basis.

In addition, this work directly links into the achievement of one of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Key Outcomes “People in Pembrokeshire enjoy an attractive, sustainable and diverse environment”.

The Next Steps

Tenby Town Council will be discussing the trial at a future meeting. Once we know the outcome, a decision can then be made on whether the scheme is rolled out.

3 thoughts on “Small things can make a big difference: Tenby’s Seagull Proof Bags

  1. Pingback: Blue stars, seagull-proofing, waste and change | weeklyblogclub

  2. A.morgan

    This sounds great! I love the methology used and that you had customer engagement from the off. Plus all done on a small scale to test the waters. Very slick! I look forward to hearing the final result


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