Council is accused of targeting smokers as more than 900 fines are issued for littering offenses
Richard Evans, local democracy journalist
Denbighshire County Council has been accused of making tens of thousands of pounds in profit by targeting smokers dumping cigarette butts at A55 service stations.
The council employs district law enforcement to issue fixed fine notices for violations such as general garbage, dog soiling, and smoking violations.
But while dog malpractice remains at the top of residents’ priority lists, only two fixed penalty notices have been given for dog malpractice in 2021; both remained unpaid. Forty-three fines of £100 have been issued to owners of dogs entering dog exclusion zones. Another dog owner was fined for not leashing a dog, but that was also not paid.
This compares to 84% of fines for smoking offences.
Of 944 fixed fines issued in 2021, 824 were £75 fines issued for dropping cigarette butts or throwing hand-rolled cigarettes. Another 48 violations involved smoking in smoke-free vehicles or areas. There was another case where a person was fined for irresponsibly throwing away a cigar.
The total amount recovered in fixed fine notices for littering offenses in 2021 is £56,420 – as many fines remain unpaid.
Hundreds of fixed fines have been handed out on the A55 and its service stations around Bodelwyddan. As each fine is recorded differently, it is not possible to give a full breakdown of locations, but hundreds of fines have been issued to motorway services.
Some of the hotspots have been registered as A55 Bodelwyddan services; A55 Services West Bodelwyddan; Kimmel Services Bodelwyddan; Kinmel Services West Bodelwyddan; Bodelwyddan Marble Church; and Bodelwyddan Services.
The information came from a request to Denbighshire County Council under the Freedom of Information Act.
One adviser called fixed penalty notices a money-making ploy. The identity of the adviser cannot be revealed due to the current pre-election period.
They said: ‘It is clear from the data that the priority of (council) public enforcement at all levels is profit, not keeping our communities clean.
“Surprisingly, 84% of all fines issued are for cigarette-related offenses, 66% of which are issued on private grounds at gas stations or retail parks, while only 1% of fines are issued for dog soiling in public areas.
“In fact, more fines (4%) have been issued to vulnerable patients and visitors at Bodelwyddan Hospital than to those who deliberately cause a public health problem caused by people not cleaning up after their dogs. .
“Once again Denbighshire councilors failed to support our community and favored a for-profit business. To paraphrase Hamlet, there is something repugnant about the state of Denbighshire, other than that left behind by inconsiderate dog owners.
A Denbighshire County Council spokesperson said: ‘The council takes all litter seriously as it is a criminal offense and should not be tolerated in our communities.
“It is not uncommon for a significant majority of fixed penalty notices to be issued for smoking-related waste, as smoking-related waste is the most commonly recorded waste discharged in Denbighshire and across the UK. United.
“Smokers who throw away their cigarette butts often do so on a regular basis and over time this can cause environmental damage as the waste contains toxins that harm ecosystems.
“In addition to enforcement, the Council is carrying out street cleaning which is enhanced during the summer months to help manage the increase in litter.
“We also work with partners such as Keep Wales Tidy, promoting and supporting community waste choices.
“This year we will launch an improved beach cleaning service with machines specially designed to rake clean beaches so that litter cannot contaminate the sea and from May 1 we will deploy reinforced patrols along the promenades, popular beaches and beauty spots to deter waste and anti-social behavior related to dog control.
“Dog fouling remains a priority for the Council and we are working closely with District Law Enforcement alongside local members and the public to identify those committing violations. The Council is also running an awareness campaign that includes prominent signs and social media reminders for pet owners to act responsibly.
“Irresponsible dog owners breach the public space protection order and could be given notice of a fixed £100 fine.
“Law enforcement patrols are underway and we also encourage people who witness dog soiling to contact us with information so we can target our patrols.
“To report a dog owner failing to clean up after their pet, members of the public are asked to provide a description of the person, a description of the dog, and the time and location of the violation.
“Our law enforcement officers do not operate covertly – when patrolling they are highly visible to prevent unwanted behavior before it happens.
“The majority of dog owners act responsibly and we want to thank them for ensuring that our communities remain clean and attractive to our residents.
“To report an incident of dog fouling, visit here…….
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