Wales

£4.5m paid in litter and dog mess fines in Wales since 2014-15

Dog sign Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Councils for Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham were responsible for issuing about 45% for dog fouling and litter fines since 2014-15

Fines for littering and dog fouling have rocketed in the past decade with £1.3m paid out in the last year alone.

More than 27,700 fixed penalty notices were issued in 2017-18 by Welsh councils, up from 2,800 in 2007.

Charity Keep Wales Tidy said more education was needed to change people's behaviour as well as using enforcement.

Wales' 22 local authorities have issued 90,500 fines for littering and dog fouling since 2014-15, with people paying more than £4.5m.

In Aberystwyth, councillor Ceredig Davies posted a photo of dog mess left on the street on the town's Facebook page to highlight his concern.

Residents "should not have to put up with these deposits on their front door step", he said after removing it himself.

"It's just disgusting."

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Media captionDog mess in Wrexham: 'It annoys me when they hang the bag on a tree'

Jemma Bere, from Keep Wales Tidy, said "fair enforcement has an important role to play" but it "needs to be part of a wider strategy for prevention and behaviour change, which includes education, engagement, and legislation".

"To effectively reduce litter in Wales, we need to work in partnership with local and national government, agencies, businesses and schools, developing a more joined up approach," she said.

Image caption Steve Spence said most dog owners were "responsible but the odd few are letting things down'

Steve Spence, who volunteers at a community cycling project at Alyn Waters Country Park, Wrexham, said they have to wash dog messoff bike tyres due to irresponsible dog owners not picking up after their pets.

"Most of the dog owners are responsible but the odd few are letting things down," he said.

"It's worst first thing in the morning. People are coming in early doors and letting their dogs do what they need to do."

In August, BBC Wales News told how Collin Smith, from Miskin, had to have his leg amputated after dog mess on a rugby pitch caused a serious infection.

His local council in Rhondda Cynon Taff has taken action to ban dogs from sports pitches and requires owners to carry bags to clean up after their pets or face a £100 fine.

Councils for Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham were responsible for issuing about 45% for dog fouling and litter fines since 2014-15 in Wales, with £2.1m paid.

Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion issued the least with 32 fines between them in the same period, netting £1,675.

Authorities set their own financial penalties with the level at about £75 for litter and dog fouling, according to the Welsh Government.

'Unacceptable'

Some councils employ commercial companies to take enforcement action which has proved controversial amid allegations of heavy handedness.

Wrexham council saw a spike in enforcement action with fines leaping from 50 in 2015 to more than 6,300 after it enlisted contractor Kingdom in 2016, but that arrangement ends in December.

Denbighshire council has issued the most fixed penalty notices with £826,000 paid from 16,000 fines since 2014-15. It has been asked to comment.

Conwy council, which was in second place with £755,000 paid from 13,000 fines, said dog fouling "gives the most cause for concern" among the public.

All six councils in north Wales are considering uniting to tackle enforcement on litter and dog fouling, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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