Enforcement trial reaches half way point

As a trial blitz on litter and dog fouling enforcement reaches the half way mark, the council is reminding people of the consequences of dropping rubbish and leaving dog mess.

Since 22 April, the council has taken a zero tolerance approach to anyone seen blatantly dropping litter in the city centre.

The trial is in direct response to people fed up with rubbish and dog fouling marring their streets. It is being run so the council can assess if the clamp down will alter people’s behaviour and help keep streets cleaner.

With hundreds of council litter bins available – which can also be used to deposit dog poo – and an annual £8million street cleaning bill, the council wants people to use bins rather than use dwindling resources continually clearing up after others.

Anyone seen deliberately dropping rubbish or leaving dog mess behind is being issued with a fixed penalty notice by dedicated environmental patrol officers.

The dedicated patrols are in addition to the work carried out by the council’s environmental action officers.

Since the trial began, 641 litter louts spotted blatantly dropping rubbish and 15 irresponsible dog owners failing to pick up dog mess have been fined by the dedicated patrols and council officers.

Most people have been unable to excuse their actions and have accepted the £75 fine.

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

“We’re only half way through the trial and we don’t want to draw any conclusions yet. We’ll assess if the patrols have had an impact on levels of cleanliness at the end of the trial in three months.

“When the trial started we were clear that this wasn’t about making money from fines. This is still the case. We’d much prefer it if people used the bins available for litter and dog mess so we wouldn’t have to issue fines or continually use resources clearing up after others.

“What we can say at this stage is that the people who have been stopped know they are in the wrong. It begs the question that if they know what they are doing is wrong, then why aren’t they using the litter bins available or picking up after their dogs?”

Issuing fixed penalty notices to people who fail to clean up after their dog requires the owner and their pet to be caught in the act. So far, 15 fixed penalty notices have been handed out by dedicated patrol officers and council staff to irresponsible dog owners.

The trial is allowing the council to test 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 are being monitored to gauge what impact the trial is having before decisions on the long-term future of littering and dog fouling enforcement are taken.

Notes to editors:

• From 21 April to 13 July 2013, dedicated environmental patrol officers have issued a total of 587 fixed penalty notices and council environmental action officers have issued 69 while carrying out a full range of duties. For the same period in 2012, council environmental action officers issued 61 fixed penalty notices.

• 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.

For media enquiries please contact:

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

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