Litter louts and dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets will be in for a shock next month when enforcement officers take to the streets of the district.
The district council has recruited the help of a private company to clamp down of those who drop litter in the street and who let their dogs foul public spaces. Penalty notices of £50 for litter and £75 for dog fouling will be issued to offenders - with the enforcement company, XFOR Local Authority Services, keeping £45 of each fine.
Launching the new initiative on Monday, Cllr Nick Kenton, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said litter and dog fouling were two of the top issues raised by people.
“We we can take action on those and that’s what we are going to do for a six-month trial period," he said.
“It’s what people say they want us to do, so we’ll do it. At the end of the six months we will see how successful it has been, and what sort of difference it has made to our district. Then we will decide whether to continue with it.”
The company’s enforcement officers already work with other district and city councils in Kent, and Cllr Kenton said they would be learning from their experiences elsewhere.
To start with there will be a period of education, with roadshows being held in Dover, Deal and Sandwich to tell people what is happening.
The team will be at Dover's Market Square this Wednesday and next Tuesday, at the back of Sandwich Guildhall this Thursday and in Deal High Street on Thursday, January 24, all from 10am to 3pm.
“We don’t want people to say they didn’t know it was happening,” said Cllr Kenton.
He emphasised that penalty tickets would only be given to those who acted with intent, not those who accidentally dropped litter while getting something out of their pockets.
The scheme comes into operation on February 1, but the enforcement officers are expected to warn offenders for the first three days. Then the fixed penalties will be issued. Those who don’t pay will be taken to court, and the police will be called if offenders refuse to give their names and addresses.
Full story in this week's East Kent Mercury and Dover Mercury.