Targeting dog mess nuisance

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COUNCIL bosses are ploughing resources into a pilot programme to fight Wigan’s £3m dog fouling and littering problems.

They will deploy extra environmental officers as part of a new 12 month long crackdown which will see staff patrolling streets and parks across the borough in an attempt to catch those guilty of littering and failing to clean up after their dogs.

The scheme will also see specialist environmental enforcement company 3GS brought in to provide a dedicated team of officers tasked with helping to keep the streets and parks clean. Intelligence gathered from the street patrols will be used to plan and focus the team’s activities on hotspots. Disappointed town hall chiefs said the number of complaints about dog fouling and littering remains “consistently high”.

With the help of 3GS, more frequent, dedicated litter and dog fouling patrols will be able to respond to these complaints.

More than £3m is spent each year on cleaning roads, pavements and parks.

It is anticipated that the presence of uniformed patrols will encourage people to “stop and think” before allowing pets to foul and break the law by failing to clean up afterwards.

If officers witness anyone blatantly dropping litter or failing to pick up after their dog, they are now authorised to issue £50 fixed penalty notices on the spot.

But those seen acting responsibly and using litter bins will then be given a raffle ticket which will see them entered into a regular prize draw.

Bundles of £25 book vouchers are also up for grabs. The project will allow the council to assess if the added extra street presence and zero tolerance approach will bring about the positive behaviours that the majority of residents expect to see to keep streets clean. Council cabinet member for the environment Coun Kevin Anderson said: “Time and time again residents have told us that keeping the borough’s streets clean and safe is the most important priority.

“Ideally we’d like to see residents playing an active role in keeping their streets clean and to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and the number of complaints we receive has forced us to adopt a firmer approach to those who break the law.

“One of the biggest issues is cigarette butts, which for some reason some people don’t see as littering, but if anyone is spotted dropping one they will be fined.”