Causeway Coast and Glens Council to take another look at dog fouling strategy following ‘scandalous’ decrease in fines

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Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council may consider reappointing a third party to enforce dog fouling and littering policies, due to a ‘scandalous’ decrease in fixed penalty notices.

Environmental Service Committee members meeting on Tuesday, May 14, heard that council had worked alongside the contractor Waste Investigations and Support Services (WISE) for one year from August 2021- 2022. This led to the issuing of 52 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling and 1,730 notices for littering in 2021, as well as 60 notices for dog fouling and 1,624 notices for littering in 2022.

Following termination of the WISE contract, five notices were issued for dog fouling in 2023 and only seven issued for littering. A council officer clarified that the council had decided not to extend the contract with WISE as members had “set conditions that restricted them from going into particular areas”.

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They added: “That was going to impact their ability to collect fines and, as a result, they weren’t able to proceed. There wasn’t an appetite for it, shall we say.”

Concern was raised over the 'scandalous' decrease in fixed penalty notices. Credit PixabayConcern was raised over the 'scandalous' decrease in fixed penalty notices. Credit Pixabay
Concern was raised over the 'scandalous' decrease in fixed penalty notices. Credit Pixabay

UUP Councillor Darryl Wilson said littering and dog fouling was “the biggest bugbear of the council.

“I know we tried it and some didn’t like it,” Cllr Wilson added. “Surprisingly those that were caught didn’t like it and lobbied councillors and out it went. But we have limited resources and we cannot expect our enforcement officers to be omnipotent, so I would be broadly supportive of looking at additional help or a third party being brought back in.

“I cannot see a downside to it whatsoever. If a a third party gets money and we get some of it, it’s more than we’re collecting and it’s going prevent fly tipping and penalise those that do. It’s something we should visit in the future.”

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Alliance Councillor Lee Kane said the drop fixed penalty notices figures was “an absolute disgrace”.

“For us to go from 1,730, to 1,624, to seven is scandalous,” Cllr Kane said. “And I am shocked that there are certain areas of council that we don’t want kept free of litter or enforce our litter laws. I really don’t understand that.”

DUP Alderman Aaron Callan proposed that officers return a report on the viability of working with an outside litter enforcement contractor.