Since early 2015 Newquay Town Council has been carrying out enforcement of dog fouling and littering in Newquay under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Initially, a lenient approach was taken to offenders and they were given verbal warnings as opposed to a Fixed Penalty Notice. After trialling this approach, it was very clear that it was ineffective and the public expected a harder line to be taken.
As of last year, Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued to genuine offenders. Cornwall Council is still ultimately responsible for enforcement and handling the administration process, however local authorities, such as Newquay, can be given delegated authority to issue Fixed Penalty Notices where appropriate. Fixed Penalty Notices are used as an effective and visible way of responding to low-level crime, and are used as an alternative to prosecution.
Receipts from environmental offences can only be used to meet the cost of undertaking specific functions or enforcement action under the relevant legislation. The ultimate aim of Newquay Town Council undertaking this role is to increase awareness of environmental offences in Newquay and to try and encourage the public to be more responsible.
Additionally Newquay Town Council also has delegated powers to enforce any appropriate Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO). Porth Beach is currently covered under a PSPO to ban dogs on the beach between 9am to 7pm from 1 May to 30 September (formerly 24 hours from Easter Day to 1 October).
As of the start of this year, a total of 29 fines have been issued varying from dog fouling, littering to the breach of the Porth Beach dog ban. The areas where these fines have been issued is spread across the parish, however there are known hotspots such as the Gannel estuary, Towan Headland and the Town Centre to name a few.
It is hoped by continued enforcement, it will encourage offenders to be more responsible in the future and take more pride in the Town as a whole.
Cllr Zoe Dixon, Chairman of the Footpaths, Bridleways and Open Spaces Committee said “Following feedback from our residents we are taking a zero tolerance approach to people who continue to flout the rules, we all know that we shouldn't drop litter and that responsible dog owners will pick up after their dogs and will adhere to restrictions on where they can walk but for those who ignore the rules we will issue penalty charges. By highlighting that action will be taken and further educating people I would like to think that we will notice a reduction in this anti social behaviour and such fines will not be necessary in the future”
Cllr Olly Monk, Vice-Chairman of the Footpaths, Bridleways and Open Spaces Committee said “The issue around dog fouling is always one of the first thing residents and locals mention when asked about issues in the Town that need addressing. I am pleased that the enforcement officer has taken a bold approach with his job and sought out persistent offenders and issued fixed penalty notices. As a dog owner (until recently) nothing annoyed me more than picking up after my own dog and noticing other people who did not. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and do not want to be associated with those who are not”