By Anthony Carroll
Friday, February 28, 2014
Litter bugs and inconsiderate dog owners could be targeted by a new council team dedicated to cleaning the streets of Waveney, it emerged this week.
A proposal to set up dog mess and litter patrols across the whole of the district could be adopted by Waveney District Council.
The idea was put forward by Waveney’s Labour opposition group at a full council meeting on Wednesday night which set the budget for 2014/15.
Councillors on all sides agreed the patrols scheme, which could see enforcement officers issuing fines to dog owners who do not clean up after their pets and people who thoughtlessly drop litter, should be further explored – with a strong possibility it will come into force.
Ian Graham, Labour councillor for the Harbour Ward, had proposed the amendment to the budget which paved the way for the dog mess and litter clampdown.
He said: “I think there is a huge problem with dog fouling and litter across Waveney. It is simply not acceptable.
“In my constituency alone there is dog mess on most roads and you can see in the town centre where people have dropped litter. What people have to understand is that we all live in the same community and what we do affects everyone.
“I am pleased the council is taking my proposal seriously and it is looking to take it forward.”
The dog-fouling and litter patrol motion will now be discussed at a meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, which is looking at car parking and fine enforcement across Waveney.
Tod Sullivan, leader of Waveney’s Labour group, said the issue of people not cleaning up after their dogs was one of the major concerns of people in the district.
He said: “When we are out canvassing across Waveney, the issue of dog-fouling is always mentioned.
“It is a significant problem across the constituency.
“We have been discussing this problem and the one of litter for a while and saw the budget as the perfect way of proposing something.
“I am pleased to see it receive cross-party support.
“I don’t see any reason why it cannot be introduced in time for the summer.
“Waveney is a tourist destination and we need to keep its streets free of litter and dog mess so visitors can enjoy it.”
Although Waveney does not have dedicated patrol officers for litter and dog-fouling, the council aims to remove all dog mess reported in 24 hours and it does target persistent offenders who can be given a £80 spot fine or go to court and face a possible £1,000 fine.
Waveney also has trained its own staff and members of the public to report offenders who illegally dump rubbish as part of an incident ticketing scheme.
Colin Law, leader of Waveney, welcomed the motion to set up patrols, which are also seen as a way of generating money for the council at a time when its budget is under increasing pressure from cuts from the government.
Mr Law said: “As leader of the council, I welcomed the debate about generating additional revenue for the council and addressing some of the issues we face relating to littering and dog-fouling.
“By taking this amendment to our cross-party overview and scrutiny committee, we will now have the opportunity to thoroughly consider and assess any possible measures which may provide support and benefit to the town.”
Wednesday’s budget setting meeting saw Waveney freeze its share of council tax for the fourth year running, with a band D property paying
£147.51 for 2014/15.