Cleaning up our streets

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FORFAR and Kirriemuir are enjoying the benefits of cleaner streets thanks to a significant reduction in dog fouling and litter in the last six months.

The improvement is due to the bigger role community wardens now play in keeping the county safe and clean while tackling environmental anti-social behaviour.

Ron Aston, director of neighbourhood services, said: “The community warden service has been given primacy for the investigations and enforcement into complaints of dog fouling in Angus.

“The service also retained a secondary element of responsibility for enforcement duties into tackling littering and fly tipping.

“It has also been redesigned to be both a reactive and proactive resource to tackle environmental anti-social behaviour through an outcome led and problem solving approach.

“The service works wherever possible with communities and other partners to resolve these issues, working to provide real results for the communities of Angus.”

In order to best serve the needs of the community the wardens hours have been changed to reflect when their services are most needed. These include the prime dog walking hours of 7am to 8pm Monday to Wednesday and 7am to 11pm on Thursday to Saturday.

Their routes have also been amended to incorporate the areas of highest concern in regards to dog fouling, littering and fly tipping. These areas were identified using a number of sources including the police, council, media, community groups and the public.

In order to help the wardens in their role, all information is now fed into a computerised management system which provides daily feedback on where action has been taken. It also shows where the service is making a difference and which areas are still causing problems.

The result of this new approach is a positive one. Since April this year the wardens have issued 41 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling and dealt with 176 complaints.

Complaints to the service have also risen by 35.8 per cent since the same time last year.

Mr Ashton said: “This is believed to be due to the change in focus of the service being widely publicised and greater public confidence in the service being provided.

“Other supporting evidence to this is the drop in actual fouling and percentage of customer satisfaction.”

In Forfar this change has been significant with a drop of 57.4 per cent in instances of dog fouling, with 397 in August 2010 and 169 in August this year.

The change in Kirriemuir has only been slightly less with a 53.3 per cent decrease and a drop to 43 from 92 in the same time period.

It is also thought that the heightened presence of the wardens is creating a change in mindset.

Mr Ashton said:

“Over the past six months, community wardens have observed and recorded in excess of 700 incidences where responsible owners have immediately picked up dog foul and disposed of it appropriately.”

Meanwhile the wardens also continue their work in tackling anti-social behaviour, vandalism, drug use and in providing community reassurance.