To consider the potential work programme for the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
A copy of a draft work programme was appended to the agenda. The Chairman asked that if any Member had an item that they wished to be included on the agenda plenty of notice was required to enable relevant paperwork to be compiled. Two or three days before the meeting was not enough notice.
One Member referred to the item on the work programme concerning the use of DNA scheme to deter dog fouling. He felt that this issue was a waste of time and that officers should not be tasked with looking into an issue that he felt was not a viable item and he proposed that it not be included on the work programme, his proposal received a seconder.
A discussion then followed on the topic. One example was given of dog fouling in Bourne Woods, however the Cabinet Member Environment stated that Bourne Woods came under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Commission and people did not have to clear up after their dogs, but were asked to flick the offending mess off the paths. In some authorities they had changed legislation with regard to Public Space Protection Orders so that fines could be given in these areas which covered costs of dog fouling. He felt that DNA testing was not necessarily a waste of time but should be included in discussions on the topic, it was an issue that was always raised a Parish Council meetings and should be debated together with all options available. The Member who had made the proposal still insisted that DNA testing was a waste of time and officers should not waste time on it.
The Cabinet Member Environment stated that it was important to recognise that DNA testing existed and that it was part of a larger discussion on the topic with all other options and ideas being looked at with a view to how best to tackle the problem of dog fouling.
It was proposed that rather than have DNA testing in the topic title that it be given a wider heading such as “options to deter dog fouling” would the Member be happy with this heading. The Member was happy with the proposed title and withdraw his proposal. Further discussion followed with other Members stating that it was an item that was consistently raised at Parish Council meetings. Members felt that often the culprits were known by the Parish Council but nothing was done because they did not want to be the recipients of abuse. Some Parish Councils had schemes in place where parish councillors were trained and licensed to issue fines and one Member asked how many had been issued. The Executive Manager Environment said that he did not have that information however, Neighbourhood Teams did take note of dog fouling and if owners and addresses were available to them they did contact people and offer encouragement and education. One Member asked if more bins could be made available within the district and another Member referred to PCSO’s and whether or not they could issue fines for dog fouling, unfortunately byelaws prevented them for issuing fines. A request was made that Members be issued with a list of what a PCSO could do.
Resolved: That the Work programme heading be changed to “Options to Deter Dog Fouling”