Council to trial new approach to litter and dog fouling enforcement

In a bid to clean up streets and grot spots, the council is set to trial a firmer approach to littering and dog fouling.

More frequent, dedicated litter and dog fouling patrols will be operating in Leeds city centre and parts of west and north Leeds.

From Monday 22 April patrols, provided by officers from specialist firm 3gs, will work alongside the council’s existing team of enforcement officers.

The environmental patrols will be targeted at high profile areas in the city centre and problematic hot spots for six months.

The patrols will be a very visible reminder to residents and visitors to put their rubbish in bins or take it home with them and to pick up their dog’s mess. Bagged dog waste can be put in any street litter bin.

The patrols will be enforcing littering and dog fouling laws. If they witness anyone blatantly dropping litter or failing to pick up after their dog, they will issue £75 fixed penalty notices for those offences.

Another part of the pilot project will be a reward scheme offered by 3gs. If people are seen by officers using litter bins, they will be given the option to have their name entered into a prize draw.

In addition, 3gs intend to establish their own environmental education charity to work with schools in the areas where they have a long-term relationship with clients.

With an annual £8 million bill for street cleaning and repeated complaints from residents about rubbish and dog mess, the council hopes the presence of uniformed patrols will change attitudes and behaviour.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“With the financial pressures we face, we have to balance the cost of our street cleaning operations and enforcing environmental law with the needs and expectations of our residents.

“But let me be clear from the start – this is driven by residents fed up of litter and dog mess on their streets. This is not about raising money by handing out fixed penalty notices.

“We need the co-operation of residents, businesses and visitors alike to keep streets clean. We can’t afford to continually clean up after others, nor do we have the resources to be everywhere, all the time, to catch offenders.

“Our approach has always been to educate and inform people about their responsibilities and to follow this up with enforcement. But with repeated complaints from concerned residents, now is the time to test if a firmer approach to those blatantly ignoring the law will help us influence people’s attitudes to waste, bring about behaviour change and cleaner streets.”

Patrols by 3gs will be targeted at problems areas in the hope that the presence of the officers will be enough to deter people from littering or allowing their dog to foul.

If people don’t drop litter and pick up after their dogs, then they have nothing to worry about.

The trial period will allow the council to assess if the uniformed presence and zero tolerance approach will bring about the positive behaviours that the majority of residents expect to keep streets clean.

Levels of cleanliness will be monitored throughout the trial to gauge what impact is being made before decisions on the long-term future of littering and dog fouling enforcement are taken.

It’s hoped that people will act and deal with their litter properly and pick up after their dogs so that local communities, and people drawn to the city centre by prestigious developments like Trinity Leeds and the Leeds Arena, will see that high standards of cleanliness are maintained.

Notes to editors:

  • 3gs are a specialist environmental and security firm.

  • Patrols for littering will take place in the city centre. Patrols for littering and dog fouling will take place in Otley, Adel, Bramhope, Cookridge, Holt Park, Horsforth, Guiseley, Rawdon, Pool in Wharfedale, Yeadon and also on Woodhouse Moor. Other dog fouling hotspots is residential parts of these areas will benefit from patrols. 

  • Cleansing and enforcement service level agreements based on local priorities across Leeds are also making a real impact. Efforts to provide education on litter and waste to local residents means communities are seeing improvements. Backed with enforcement action where these efforts are ignored has already resulted in successful prosecutions. The trial patrols will enhance this work.

  • The council has already made changes to street cleaning operations in the city centre that means higher standards of cleanliness are maintained at no extra cost.

  • An exercise in September 2012 demonstrated the scale of the challenge that city centre street cleaning teams have to meet every day. Around five to six tonnes of rubbish collected from 450 litter bins and picked up from the streets in a 24 hour period were dumped on Briggate to show how much rubbish people generate in a short space of time.

For media enquiries please contact:

Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk