Aylsham's bag ban off to a flying start

Shoppers in Aylsham have responded enthusiastically on the town's first plastic bag free day.Following in the famous footsteps of Modbury in Devon, which managed to ban all plastic bags from May 1 last year, the town officially become a plastic bag-free zone on Saturday.

Shoppers in Aylsham have responded enthusiastically on the town's first plastic bag free day.

Following in the famous footsteps of Modbury in Devon, which managed to ban all plastic bags from May 1 last year, the town officially become a plastic bag-free zone on Saturday.

A total of 71 businesses have signed up to the initiative, which means customers will either have to bring their own reusable bag or they will be handed starch or paper bags.

Nicola Filby, treasurer of Aylsham Traders' Association, said the initiative had helped to bring the town together.

She said: “We have a very strong community business spirit and everybody has come together to promote the town. It's that community spirit that makes people want to live in Aylsham so they can be a part of it too.”

Martina Glason, a waste reduction officer for Norfolk County Council, has been helping the town to go plastic bag-free by working with its youngsters.

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She said: “We have been trying to reach as many community groups as we can to get the message out there.”

The message appeared to have been received loud and clear as shoppers descended on the market on Saturday armed with an array of reusable bags.

Margaret Kerrison, of Burgh Road, said: “It's great. I have been trying to use other bags for a while now when I go shopping.”

Her husband, Alan, said it would now be a matter of remembering to bring the bags, something which he felt would be more difficult for the men of the town.

Shopper Sylvie Marshall, from Heydon, said: “I think it's wonderful - everywhere should follow suit. There have been pioneers pushing to bring this issue to people's awareness.”

For those who forgot to bring their own, free cloth bags were being handed out on the day, with shoppers forming quite a queue at times to get one. More free bags will be given out on May 17, which is also a market day as the town moves towards having twice- monthly farmers' markets instead of their existing once- a-month market.

It is hoped that by then Alysham's own branded green bags, designed by youngsters at Bure Valley School, will have been delivered by suppliers.

Jason Borthwick, who lives in Aylsham and is one of the protagonists of the campaign, said: “We are never going to get everybody involved but I think we will get the vast majority taking part.

“I hope other people will follow our lead and realise it's not so difficult.”

For some shops in the town, the initiative has merely kick-started what they see as a long-term mission to become more eco-friendly.

Mr Borthwick said: “A lot of the businesses who have gone plastic bag-free are interested in what is the next step. I know the fish bar is looking at all of the packaging it uses for their foods and is looking at other options they could take.”

Traders taking part are:

A & M Carpets, White Hart Street

Abbotts Murdock Opticians, Cawston Road

Alleycuts, Red Lion Street

Aylsham Antiques, Cawston Road

Aylsham Computers, Red Lion Street

Aylsham Country Market (Fridays in the Town Hall)

Aylsham Dry Cleaners, Red Lion Street

Aylsham Fun Barns, Henry Page Road

Aylsham Manor, Norwich Road

Aylsham Post Office, Hungate Street

Aylsham Windows and Conservatories, Aylsham Trading Estate

Black Sheep Ltd (Clothing), Blickling Road

Break Charity Shop, Market Place

Budgens Aylsham, Norwich Road

Bure Valley Plant, Brampton

Burebank Books, Red Lion Street

Celebrations (Cards), Market Place

Concept Carpets & Blinds

Cooks of Cawston Electrical Ltd, Dunkirk

Crystal Kindness (Natural Therapies), Red Lion Street


Dunkirk Garage, Dunkirk

Earthly Ideas

Eastons Coaches, Stratton Strawless

Eclipse Hair Studio, Red Lion Street

Edward Jones, Norwich Road

Exquisite (Hairdressers), Red Lion Street

F C Gardner & Co, Red Lion Street

Food Lovers, Blickling Road

G. F. White Traditional Butchers, Red Lion Street

Get a Head Gardener

Gottersons Fish Bar, Cawston Road

Granville C Bond (Butcher and Fishmonger), Red Lion Street

Hansells Solicitors, Norwich Road

Harvey World Travel, Red Lion Street

Heatcraft Anglia Ltd, Burgh Road

J B Postle (Electricals), Market Place

J Christian (Jewellers), Red Lion Street

J. S. Coxford (Butchers), Market Place

JF & VA Newman (Photographers), Blofields Loke

Koffies Coffee Shop, Cawston Road

Lavenders Blue (Florist), Red Lion Street

Le Bon Bon (Sweet Shop), Red Lion Street

Lloyds Pharmacy, Market Place

M F Barnwell & Sons (Newsagents), Market Place

Nikki Nelson Opticians, Burgh Road

NPS Glazing Systems Ltd, Buxton

Pampered Pets, Red Lion Street

Porkies (Sandwiches), Red Lion Street

Richard Anders-Dungar Architectural Technologist

Richard Hair Design, Blofields Loke

Shoe Box, Blofields Loke

Simply "16" (Restaurant), Market Place

Somerfield, Market Place

Sowerbys Estate Agents, Red Lion Street

St Jude's Gallery, Red Lion Street

Still Waters Beauty Therapy, Red Lion Street

The Bakehouse, Market Place

The Business Unisex Hair Salon, Red Lion Street

The Daisy Chain (Florist), Red Lion Street

The Little Clothes Shop, Red Lion Street

The Old Pump House, Holman Road

The Old Tea Rooms & Penny's from Heaven Bistro, Red Lion Street

The Plough Inn, Marsham

The Shoe Studio, Red Lion Street

Tops Group Limited (Estate Agents), Cawston Road

Visage Beauty Clinic, Blofields Loke

W G Oakes, Hungate Street Veterinary Surgery

Wagtails Petshop, Blofields Loke

Wolterton & Mannington Hall

Woodgate Nursery, Cawston Road