Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
Dog control consultation could end fouling in cemeteries across Mid & East Antrim
Almost 1,500 fixed penalty notices were issued for littering in Mid and East Antrim during the first six months of this year, figures show.
Seven hundred and 16 fixed penalties were issued for litter and fly-tipping in the borough during the first three months, a report to councillors stated.
Councillors were also told that of 102 complaints of litter and fly-tipping received by the council, 38 were upheld.
In addition, 21 fixed penalties were issued by the authority for dog fouling during this period despite 84 complaints being received. Of these, 25 were validated.
For the quarter between April and June, 780 fixed penalties were issued for litter/fly-tipping with 124 complaints received. Of these, 44 were validated.
The council issued 50 fixed penalties for dog fouling. Eight complaints were received.
Just three fixed penalty notices were issued for littering and dog fouling in Mid and East Antrim during 2019/20. Dog fouling complaints dropped from 195 in 2018/19 to 112 during 2019/20 and 104 in 2020/21.
Last April, the borough council brought in an enforcement team from Waste Investigations Support and Enforcement (WISE) that has been given powers to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling in “hotspot areas” across Mid and East Antrim. The pilot has been extended for a further 12 months.
Anyone observed failing to pick up after their dogs or dropping litter will be issued with an on the spot £80 Fixed Penalty Notice.
Meanwhile, councillors were told that the authority is due to carry out a public consultation on dog control orders when the community will have a chance to have a say.
Mid and East Antrim councillors met behind closed doors in Larne Town Hall last September in the first in a series of meetings to discuss a review which could see further restrictions.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening, Ballymena TUV Councillor Matthew Armstrong highlighted concern over dog fouling in cemeteries.
He said that the policy of dogs being allowed in cemeteries “needs to be looked at”.
“It is not the dog’s fault but the person with the dog. We need steps to be taken to ensure it does not happen.”