Litter: Smokers 'still penalised more than dog owners'

  • Published
Cigarette butts on grassImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Some councillors are concerned that contractors have an incentive to issue penalties rather than prevent littering

Smokers are still the main target compared to dog owners in tackling litter as they are seen as "easy" money by the firm that carries out the work, a Denbighshire councillor claims.

District Enforcement penalised 113 smokers in the first six weeks of its contract compared to 22 dog owners.

A contract with Kingdom Security ended in acrimony amid similar accusations.

Responding to Councillor Rhys Thomas's criticism, the authority insisted dog fouling was a priority.

A scrutiny committee heard that between December and mid-January, District Enforcement issued 147 penalty charge notices (PCNs), about 80% of which related to smoking in prohibited places or dropping cigarette and cigar ends.

Mr Thomas asked: "Are officers concentrating on the easy job of prosecuting smokers in order to produce more income - all of which they can keep?"

He was one of the members who previously raised concerns about the new contract, which he claimed looked very similar to the terms offered before.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Denbighshire council said public feedback was supportive of the action being taken in dog fouling hotspots

The invitation to tender said: "The project aim is specifically, but not exclusively, to tackle dog fouling and dog control whilst having regard to all other environmental crimes referred to in the specification.

"This is a concession contract where the contractor will retain a percentage of monies accrued from settled fines."

Critics of the previous contractor, Kingdom Security, claimed the terms encouraged the company to write tickets rather than take preventative and educational measures, receiving 60% of each £75 penalty.

District Enforcement, which promised "a lot of focus on dog fouling" when taking on the contract, did not responded to a request for comment from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A spokesman for Denbighshire council said dog fouling was a priority, and that District Enforcement was "working closely with the public and local members to identity those who are offending to bring about successful fixed penalty notices".

"We have had feedback from the public which is supportive of the enforcement activity taking place in areas identified as dog fouling hotspots," the spokesman added.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.