Efforts continue to keep the county green

As the days get longer and the weather warms up, Northumberland County Council has reiterated its commitment to keeping the county green and clean.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 9:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 9:24 am
Northumberland County Council Policy Board Member for Streetcare and Environment Ian Swithenbank and Senior Animal Welfare Officer Stephen Hall with a dog fouling campaign poster.

Last year saw a record number of people being prosecuted and fined for littering and dog fouling in Northumberland as the council continued with its combination of enforcement, engagement and education to change people’s behaviour, improve public health and improve the environment.

In 2015 a total of 1,612 waste control investigations were carried out, along with 1,885 for dog fouling.

And as well as reactive investigations the council carried out a range of proactive enforcement programmes target littering and dog fouling hotspots throughout Northumberland. Patrols include weekends and throughout the day, including early mornings and evenings.

Last year a record high number of 54 successful prosecutions for environmental offences were taken by the Council. This included 42 for littering, six for fly tipping and eight for dog fouling.

At the present time a further 25 prosecutions are going through the courts.

Along with the prosecutions, 455 fixed penalty notices were issued for littering and dog control offences. This is the highest number ever issued by the council in one year and represents a 37% increase from 2014.

Last year saw the launch of the ‘Love Northumberland Hate litter’ campaign which involved a combination of littering enforcement, community group litter picks, a programme of school engagement and over 300 visits to food businesses, with the campaign being highly commended in the prestigious ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ campaign of the year awards. This year’s campaign gets underway in May.

Next month a comprehensive litter pick will be carried out along the A189 Spine Road in Northumberland to clear rubbish from the roadsides ahead of the summer season.

Some preliminary work has already been carried out in laybys, resulting in staff removing 44 tyres and 1.3 tonnes of general waste.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “We are justifiably proud of the beauty of our county and that’s one of the reasons it’s such a special place to live.

“The green spaces and countryside is also one of the reasons tourists flock to Northumberland each year and it’s vital we do all we can to ensure it looks its best.

“Unfortunately the actions of a small minority can quickly spoil an area and affect people’s quality of life.

“Feedback from residents has told us that dog fouling is a key issue they would like to see addressed in the county and the public perceive dog fouling to be by far the most unacceptable and dirtiest type of litter.

“The number of people prosecuted and fined over the past year demonstrates our zero tolerance approach to this offensive behaviour and this will continue.

“And while enforcement is important, we are committed to continuing to educate people about littering, while also carrying out clear-ups in our towns and on our roads.

“We want the county to be looking its best and will be doing all we can to try and ensure it stays clean and tidy.”

You can report dog fouling, littering from vehicles or fly tipping by calling 0345 600 6400 or ‘save time, do it online’ and visit www.northumberland.gov.uk