How big a problem are littering and dog fouling in West Norfolk?
- Credit: Archant
How big a problem are littering and dog fouling in West Norfolk? That's the question officials are asking, as councillors decide whether to fund a study to find out.
A report to the borough's environment panel, which meets on Tuesday, says the council's community safety team does not have the resources to mount patrols targeting people who drop rubbish or fail to clean up after their pets.
It adds: 'Ideally offences need to be witnessed by authorised officers and dealt with at the time of offence.
'Whilst we can investigate reports from members of the public these are significantly more resource intensive, requiring statements and a detailed consideration of the evidential tests before progressing.'
The report says there were 160 complaints about dog fouling last year.
It says the evidence in one case was sufficient to begin a criminal investigation. In other cases, warning letters were sent.
Dog owners whose pets foul face fines of between £60 and £100, while those dropping litter can be fined between £60 and £2,500.
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The report says that littering is mainly a problem in King's Lynn town centre.
It adds that the council receives few complaints because of regular street sweeping which is carried out.
'A survey of littering in King's Lynn town centre was undertaken on October 31,' it goes on. 'Officers patrolled for a period of six hours in total. No enforcement action was taken but individuals
were spoken to when they were seen littering.
'In total 17 offences were witnessed, all of which were discarded cigarette butts.
'It should be noted that there was also very good use of litter bins observed during this time.' The report recommends a study be carried out into the extent of both problems, to see if more proactive work and more resources are needed to tackle them.
It adds a new officer post - which would cost £18,000 - £20,000 a year - may be needed to carry out the work.
The report adds that the council should draw up an education campaign to ensure members of the public understand the problem and mount 'positive enforcement patrols'.