Success in crackdown on dog fouling in Barnsley suburbs as wardens adopt new focus
A new focus from enforcement officers working in communities around Barnsley town centre has seen a move away from targeting those responsible for dropping cigarette butts, with dog owners who fail to clear up now more likely to find themselves fined.
Localised enforcement officers have been used for some time in the Central Area Council area, which covers communities including Dodworth, Kingstone, Worsbrough and Stairfoot, to try to control littering a dog fouling.
There had been complaints that officers were too ready to swoop on easy targets of people dropping cigarette ends, with the contract being switched to a new company early this year.
Since then, numbers of people being fined for dog fouling – a source of many complaints but an offence which is difficult to detect – have increased to account for around 20 per cent of all fines issued.
There are no targets set for fixed penalty notices, but between April and June 156 were issued in the area, with 29 of those for dog fouling.
Councillors who make up Central Area Council – a localised body with its own budget to spend on issues specifically affecting the district it covers – were told cigarette littering still makes up the bulk of penalties issued by officers, at 69 per cent. Nationally, cigarette waste accounts for more than 90 per cent of all littering fines issued, councillors were told.
That is regarded as a good result, with more positive attention now being given to identifying dog owners responsible for fouling.
Staff from Environmental Enforcement, the company now running the service, work ten hour shifts which allows them to cover early mornings and evenings, when dog walkers may be exercising their pets.
One area targeted recently was the Highstone Lane and Mount Vernon Road area around Worsbrough Common and Ward Green, where over the space of a few days nine dog owners were issued with penalties.
Coun Gill Carr highlighted an anomaly in that littering attracts a £100 fine where dog fouling, which has more damaging potential to health, brings a penalty of £50.
Coun Phillip Birkinshaw said: “It is nice to see the picture is changing and we are not doing 95 per cent cigarette butts”.