Wrexham Council are to call in a private company to help crackdown on issues with dog fouling and littering across the county borough.
In a meeting held yesterday, members of Wrexham Council’s Executive Board voted unanimously in favour of appointing a private partner to carry out the monitoring and enforcement of dog fouling, parking and littering in the county borough.
The proposals will be on a 12 months trial basis which will then be evaluated.
In his report to Members, Lead Member for the Environment, Cllr David A Bithell, noted that the demands of the public, councillors and community councillors were not being met by current enforcement methods and that improvements were necessary.
Speaking at the Executive Board meeting, Cllr Bithell noted that while two enforcement teams were ‘amalgamated’ in April 2012, dog fouling and littering remained an issue across the county borough.
Cllr Bithell added: “Dog fouling and litter remains an issue and has proven difficult to tackle – it remains an area of concern for elected members and local communities.”
Figures for 14/15 show that 478 complaints were received about dog fouling with 21 tickets issued. 175 tickets were issued for littering with 132 for cigarette butts.
The report was welcomed by members of the Executive Board, many of which commented on issues raised to them by their constituents regarding parking, littering and dog fouling.
Cllr Neil Rogers said: “It is clear from the report that current enforcements are not working and we need to do something about it. It is mentioned monthly in community councils meetings and mentioned to us all the time.
“I don’t see a problem with this report today – it is quite clear that current proposals are not working. My objective in this is to make our streets and playing areas cleaner.”
However concerns were raised about the issuing of fines, where the responsibility falls when people appeal the tickets and the issues having people in uniforms while issuing the tickets may raise.
Cllr Alun Jenkins commented on the issue, stating: I’m not supportive of having enforcement people on the streets of wrexham wearing uniforms other than police or the council.
“There is a difference in approach in all of this, council officers when applying powers for issuing a notice is probably a last resort. For external groups their main process is to make money. It works very differently.
“The thing that worries me due to lack of detail is unintended consequences that come of this – it’s not meant to be an incoming generating exercise, it’s applied it because people not complied.”
Cllr Jenkins added: “Im concerned that if we get active person issuing tickets and many not paying fines and the responsibility coming onto the council to pursue that. The cost to the council could be more than we are making.”
However Council Leader Mark Pritchard said: “With regards to outsourcing says we are working with a partner for 12 months to enhance the service.
“I come back to the general public and their concerns. We have more complaints about dog fouling and littering than anything else. We have individuals who will not comply and behave in the area of littering and dog fouling.
“What we all want is clean streets from litter and dog fowling and this report will give us this.”
Addressing the concerns, Cllr Bithell said: “I just want to reassure members, who said they aren’t going to wear Wrexham Council uniform? I haven’t said that. It depends what we procure through the service.
“They could be badged up as Wrexham Council, some authorities do that. We need to ensure that the parter we procure is working with us. They will be working alongside existing staff and working alongside officers who will be deploying them to different parts of county borough.”
Following the procurement of a partner and launch of the pilot, an awareness raising campaign using print and social media will be undertaken prior to any company undertaking enforcement on the Council’s behalf to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the campaign.
Following the Executive Board’s decision Cllr Bithell, said: “I am very pleased that Members have agreed that this is the way forward to make Wrexham a cleaner, greener and safer place for everyone. I am confident that we will see a higher level of fines issued to those who allow their dog to foul our communities or who drop litter.
“Those responsible dog owners and members of the public who care for the environment and do not drop any litter will have nothing to fear from the proposals.
There will be no job losses due to the changes as the Council’s existing enforcement officers will be concentrating on traffic management issues with particular emphasis on the areas around our schools. Many of these suffer from inconsiderate and illegal parking by parents or carers.
“The lack of enforcement at our schools has caused complaints from residents and community councils and it is anticipated that increased enforcement will address these complaints.”