Councillors consider war on plastic bags and dog dirt

PLASTIC bags may be run out of Morpeth as councillors consider action.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Morpeth Town Council as members were asked to review the Town Plan.

Members of the Property and Asset Management Committee were invited to consider a strategy to encourage Morpeth to become plastic bag-free, as well as what can be done to reduce general litter, dog fouling and discarded chewing gum.

But while councillors agreed that they would like to tackle the problems, they were unsure what action they can take.

The town is already at maximum capacity for bins, due to the resources available to empty them, while county wardens patrol areas for dog fouling and issue fines.

The council often works with schools on litter campaigns as part of the Northumbria In Bloom entry and has previously discussed the issue of plastic bags with the Chamber of Trade.

Coun Derek Thompson said: “To have a plastic bag free town we would need to work with all the businesses in the town and ask them to help.

“We need to inform them of what we are trying to do. It is in their interests to make the town better.”

Mayor Ken Brown added: “Since the last time this was raised we have got a lot more in the way of global companies in the town, like Marks and Spencer and Waterstones.

“All of them should have some kind of social responsibility strategy and care of the environment should be part of that.

“We need to engage with all of these different organisations.”

Coun Jonathan Ferstenberg suggested contacting other authorities to find out what, if any, success they have had with the issues and how they achieved it.

A report will be prepared by council staff to bring back to the committee, outlining possible actions.

However, councillors were told that while people do care about such problems, they have not been raised as major concerns in any town council surveys and there have been few complaints about them in recent years.