Council Leads Crackdown on Dog Fouling and Other Offences
Ards and North Down Borough Council issued the highest number of fouling fines in Northern Ireland (170) while 430 litter fines were issued during the same period – the second-highest in Northern Ireland.
Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Enforcement Team has continued to hold people accountable for breaking the law throughout the pandemic with over 90 convictions secured at Newtownards Magistrate’s Court and more than £30k (including legal costs and other fees) was paid by offenders between 1 March 2020 and 31 January 2021.
In comparison to other councils in Northern Ireland, the local Council is above average when it comes to holding people accountable for a range of offences.
The most recent statistics from Keep N.I. Beautiful’s Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report (2019/20) show that Ards and North Down Borough Council issued the highest number of fouling fines in Northern Ireland (170) while 430 litter fines were issued during the same period – the second-highest in Northern Ireland.
The average number of fouling fines across all council districts was just 25 while the average number of litter fines was 274.
Ards and North Down has continued that momentum since the pandemic was declared in March last year with fines issued for a range of offences that include littering, dog fouling and straying, fly tipping and failure to provide a name and address to Council officers.
An average £340 fine (including legal costs and other fees) was dished out to offenders, most of which could have been avoided had fixed penalty notices been paid within the permitted time.
However, many chose to either ignore or contest the fines and one offender was required to pay almost £900 for what would otherwise have been a £60 fixed penalty. This was awarded to a dog walker who failed to pick up after their dog and subsequently refused to provide their contact details to Council enforcement officers.
The Council’s Head of Regulatory Services, Stephen Addy, said:
“The law is in place for everyone’s benefit and the Council must enforce it to deter people from committing offences in the first place. Our N.I. leading zero tolerance approach to issuing fines, combined with our awareness and education campaigns, demonstrates how serious we are as a Council in protecting our environment and people.
“As the outcome of these court proceedings demonstrate, ignoring fixed penalty notices or refusing to provide your particulars when requested by Council enforcement officers only ends up costing much more in the long run. Council enforcement officers are lawfully authorised and have legal powers so I would encourage everyone who has been caught in the act to provide their details, if requested, and pay the fixed penalty notices at their earliest opportunity.
“Better still, I would encourage everyone to abide by the letter of the law, dispose of waste responsibly and clean up after their pets. It’s better for the environment and results in less ratepayer money being used by the Council to clear litter and animal excrement from the streets.”
The Council uses any income received from fines to offset the expense of providing its dog control service and staff. This ensures that a continued high level of enforcement is made possible at a reduced cost to rates while also encouraging people to abide by the letter of the law, making the borough a better place to live.