Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Poop Scoop

Wokingham Borough Council's decision to remove dog bins as a cost-cutting measure appears to have spectacularly backfired.

Not only has a petition voicing public opposition to the removal of 245 bins surpassed the significant 1,000 signature mark, but it has also inspired such outrage that it has inspired a resident to threat a 'dirty protest' by collecting the overflow bags containing dog waste to send them to the council offices.

The council has since responded by adding 102 new litter bins and said that the responsibility for clearing up after their pets resides with the owners of animals. Lead councillor for environmental matters, Simon Weekes, he explained that the policy change had not resulted in increased fouling. Alice Murphy discovered, however, that no fines for dog fouling have been made in over seven years.

So following the 'National Poop Scoop Week' (23-28 June) when Wokingham officially reminding dog-walkers that they can dispose of bagged animal excrement in general litter bins the costs of the policy have begun to emerge.

According to Wokingham Newsblog the council has paid £16,000 in the hope of saving £60,000, while Reading Post suggests the savings are actually £21,379 - in the first three months of the financial year.

It should be noted that Defra official advises properly bagged animal waste poses no direct health threats to the public.

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Update: Cippenham Park in Slough has been subjected to an attack, with bagged dog waste hung from trees over a public bridleway. A
spokesperson for the council said "This is not only littering, but could also be a health risk."

The petition (with 1,600 signatures) against the Conservative bin plan was rejected. LibDem Cllr Phil Challis commented, "The idea you can put dog poo into waste bins used for general litter may be legal, but that does not make it the right thing to do in a civilised society."

Oranjepan says:
there is an unpleasant smell wafting around these budget cuts!

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