Hang 'em high! (That'll sort out those seagulls)

AS the saying goes – if you want something done right, do it yourself.

Householders in the city's New Town have come up with their own solution to the area's long-running battle with unsightly rubbish by hanging bin bags from their front railings.

The trend has taken off in recent months, with seagulls, foxes and rats no longer able to rip open bags piled on the ground for collection as they hunt for food, leaving the contents strewn over pavements in the World Heritage site.

Bill Dunlop, treasurer of the New Town and Broughton Community Council, said: "People are finding it an effective way of discouraging animals, as the bags are now above ground level. Seagulls have to be able to stand on the bags to rip them for example, but they simply cannot do that now."

The trend is understood to have started in one side of the New Town in Moray Place, gradually moving into the other, to streets such as Great King Street.

It seems householders have taken matters into their own hands after years of discussion with the council over how best to store rubbish bags prior to collection.

Unlike other areas of the city, the New Town does not have controversial communal bins, owing to a perception they may harm the visual appeal of the World Heritage site.

Householders instead pile their rubbish bags on the street for collection, but seagulls and foxes often reach them before the council's bin men.

City centre councillor Charles Dundas said: "The bottom line is, this idea is working – just raising the bags off the ground stops animals getting into them.

"I have heard nothing but support for the trend and have not had people saying they look unsightly. I think people are just happy the idea is working.

"It's certainly not more visually offensive than ripped-open bags and there is the slight advantage that they are also not in the way of pedestrians."

The councillor said the new hanging trend must only be seen as a short-term measure to solving the problem of rubbish in the New Town, insisting the council is looking into all options, including rigid containers and underground storage.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, environment leader, added: "Household waste being put out in bags has long been a problem in the city centre.

"Although tying rubbish bags on to railings does keep them off the ground, and has reduced attacks by birds and animals, we do not see it as long-term or a final solution.

"The council is actively looking at different ways to present waste in the city centre."