Crackdown targets thoughtless minority who discard rubbish and fail to clean up after dogs
Under the pilot project two Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) rangers will be given the power to issue fixed penalty notices to people who drop litter or fail to clean up after their dogs.
Craven District Council and the national park authority have launched the scheme in the Lower Wharfedale area to tackle some of the anti-social behaviour that impacts on both local residents and visitors to the area.
YDNPA rangers Phil Richards and Richard Mainman will be trained to assist Craven Council’s environmental protection team in tackling some of the issues relating to those people who leave litter behind and to dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets.
Currently the council has powers to issue fixed penalty notices of 75 to people who leave litter behind and 50 notices to dog owners who fail to clear up. Offenders face fines of up to 2,500 and 1,000 respectively if they decide to ignore the notices and are taken to court. All the money is reinvested in the fixed penalty scheme.
Mr Richards said: “As rangers we speak to many people during the course of a year about litter and dog mess and the vast majority are very co-operative and responsible in their attitudes. But, on occasions, we do experience problems with persistent dog fouling and with litter louts who leave their disposable barbecues and rubbish behind, particularly in Grass Wood and Loup Scar.
“We are hoping that having the power to issue fixed penalty notices ourselves will provide us with an additional and last-resort option for those thoughtless few who have such an impact on the national park and spoil the enjoyment of others who love its special qualities.”
Mr Richards said that if the pilot scheme is a success it could be extended to cover other areas of the national park.
He said: “We think this is the first time a national park in England and a district council have joined forces to tackle these issues.
“We receive a number of complaints to the National Park Authority and generally, in the past, we have just had to pass these on to the district councils. This now gives us another option rather than just appealing to an individual’s conscience.
“Initially we will be doing one or two patrols with the environmental protection team then we will be out on our own.”
Where a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued, the council will follow up with letters and legal action as appropriate. The council will also join YDNPA staff on patrols depending on the nature of complaints received.
Andrew Colley, the YDNPA’s member champion for conservation of the natural environment, said: “I hope this new initiative will help to solve the problem we have with thoughtless dog owners – some of whom don’t clean up after their dogs while others leave plastic bags containing dog mess on footpaths and in dry stone walls.”
Councillor Paul Whitaker, lead member for the environment at the district council, said the scheme was a “great example” of the local authority and the YDNPA working together to improve the local environment for Craven residents and visitors.
He added: “It’s only the minority who cause a problem but even so, littering and dog fouling can blight an area. Working with YDNPA rangers is a match made in heaven, giving us more people on the ground to help stamp out nuisances such as these.”