Agenda item



The Committee considered a report on the Local Environment Quality Management Plan 2022-2026, presented by the Cabinet Member for Environment and the Cabinet Member for Public Protection.


The plan included the direction of the Council’s litter management within the County for the next four years and aimed to demonstrate how litter management would be undertaken, whilst contributing to the Council’s Corporate Strategy, with particular emphasis Wellbeing Objective 10 – Healthy and Safe Environment; look after the environment now and in the future.


The following questions/issues were raised on the report:-


·       In response to a query raised regarding the number of officers were available within enforcement, the Head of Waste and Environmental Services reported that there were currently 8 officers with 1 vacancy, therefore a total of 9 staff within the enforcement team.


·       Reference was made to section 11.2 – Voluntary Groups and Other Organisations.  More information was sought regarding the publicity of information to encourage and aid members of the public and Town/Community Councils to engage in setting up groups to clean villages and rural areas.  The Cabinet Member for Environment highlighted that this would be relevant to the Pride in your Patch initiative will be re-instated.  The Environmental Services Manager further explained to members that the ‘Pride in your Patch’ initiative works to engage local communities seek volunteers to become litter champions who would then arrange local litter picks. The Policy and Strategy Officer, Environmental and Enforcement reported that there were currently 52 groups registered across Carmarthenshire and that he was currently working closely with the risk assessment team regarding appropriate insurance cover for volunteers.  Other initiatives were effective which included Caru Cymru project and Keep Britain Tidy.


·       The Policy and Strategy Officer, Environmental and Enforcement in response to a query in relation to the disposal of adhoc litter picking stated that an online Googleform had been introduced which enables members of the public to notify the Authority of the litter pick event/activity which will also collect the data in relation to where the bags of litter would be located and arrangements would be made to collect them.


·       Furthermore, in response to a query raised in accessing the red bags specifically for litter pickers, the Policy and Strategy Officer, Environmental and Enforcement explained that Keep Britain Tidy issue the red bags to registered Keep Wales Tidy Champions.  In addition, the clear bags were issued to the Authority’s Local Environment Quality Champions, an initiative which was developed over the pandemic.


·       Reference was made to the ongoing issue of dog fouling.  It was asked if any progress had been made with discussions with the Police Constable in regard to the receipt of a fine being shared between the Council and PCSO officers. The Head of Waste and Environmental Services explained that work had been undertaken with the police by way of a letter to the Chief Constable and training and provided fixed penalty stationary to the police. It was reported that whilst the police were supportive, they depended on the availability of resources and their priorities particularly throughout the pandemic.  This matter would be re-visited going forward.


·       It was strongly expressed that offenders of dog fouling and littering should be ‘named and shamed’ in the local newspapers and on social media and asked how proactive the Council was on this matter? The Cabinet Member for Public Protection assured members that work was currently being carried out to increase the number of fixed penalty notices within the paper acknowledging that there was a cost element to this. 


·       A concern was raised regarding dog fouling in parks and the dangers of toxocariasis, an infection that can be contracted by animal faeces if handled.  In addition, it was expressed that a clear management plan on the clearance of litter is important.  The Cabinet member for Public Protection reminded the Committee of the consultation on the enhanced Public Space Protection Orders with parks and sports fields being an area of consideration.  In addition, the Cabinet Member strongly emphasised that members of the public also have a duty of care not to litter the countryside and take their litter home.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services add that behavioural change would be the best solution, and that the members of the litter team were present within town centres daily, however rural areas relied on volunteers due to limited resources.


·       It was asked if it was possible to provide Town and Community Councils and volunteer groups with litter picking equipment?  The Policy and Strategy Officer, Environmental and Enforcement explained that there was a litter picking hub in Carmarthen Town where equipment and bags could be accessed.  In addition, the approach of enabling Community Councils to obtain equipment permanently this could be considered as part of a review of the ‘Pride in your Patch’ initiative.  Alternatively, another option to gain access to equipment would be through Keep Wales Tidy who would communicate with persons keen on setting up additional litter picking hubs in their area.


·       Information was sought in relation to the legal position of utilising CCTV within Town and Community Councils to catch offenders?  The Policy and Strategy Officer, Environmental and Enforcement explained that the use of CCTV must be approached with caution and that there was negativity surrounding the provision of CCTV for the use of dog fouling activities.  Historically, robust intelligence was usually obtained by responsible dog owners, which the officers respond to appropriately.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services advised that Town and Community Councils utilising CCTV to do so with due diligence.


·       Reference was made to the LEQ Action Plan.  In noting the operation to ‘Develop and the robust strategy and action plan to tackle fly-tipping (1) and (2), it was raised that the Committee would be carrying out a Task and Finish Review on Fly-tipping and asked how this would be approached? The Environmental Services Manager stated that the involvement of the Task and Finish Group as part of the review would be key in the development of the strategy.


RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO CABINET that the Local Environment Quality Management Plan 2022-2026 be approved.


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