I am writing in response to Mr Offer’s letter on dog fouling and enforcement (CP online, 25-01-22).

The majority of dog owners are responsible. On the Isle of Wight we currently send around 20 tonnes of dog poo a month to landfill, all gathered from dedicated dog bins.

That is about the same weight as three-and-a-half elephants or 12 cars.

However dog poo dangling from trees, dog-fouling on pathways and where to put dog poo are issues the council takes very seriously.

Both council officers and councillors deal with these sort of issues on a daily basis.

It is important to stress to dog owners that, when it comes to their pet poo, any general waste bin will do!

Dog poo can go in litter bins, dog bins and the black waste bins at home — but bag it before binning it.

The council has a dedicated team of enforcement officers who spend their days patrolling the streets, talking to the community, and investigating litter, vandalism, graffiti, dog-fouling, bin misuse and fly tips.

The approach taken when offences have been committed is generally one of education, followed by enforcement action wherever appropriate.

From April 1 to December 31, 2021, this approach led to 83 formal investigations, 11 warning letters and three fixed penalty notices.

In this same period, out of the 568 fly tips collected by the council or its contractors, 196 were black bags left out on the wrong day and 205 were simply other household items left out and not placed in a black bag.

It should be noted the Isle of Wight has one of the lowest rates of fly-tipping activity in south-east England and one of the lowest rates in the country.

Taking enforcement action and investigating dog-fouling and fly tips is not easy and requires clear evidence which many professional fly-tippers are good at removing.

It also necessitates a proportional response when the culprit is identified.

Such an approach must take account of whether it is a first-time offence, the size and scale, and the fact that some cases are genuine mistakes.

It also involves steps of talking to the culprit, education, informal/formal warnings and, in many cases, providing the responsible person with the opportunity to take corrective actions and pay for the cost of clear up.

This will often take place, to positive effect, prior to consideration being given to prosecution or other restrictive enforcement.

That said, in some situations the severity of the offence must and will result in more immediate enforcement action.

The council is often criticised for the limited number of prosecutions that take place, however this does not mean the system is failing.

If you have a society where there are a large number of prosecutions for murder it doesn’t necessarily mean you live in a safe place!

In the case of dog-fouling in Brading, mentioned in Mr Offer's letter, an investigation took place which resulted in the culprit being identified and a verbal warning being issued.

No further complaints have been raised since this action four months ago.

Issues relating to the process of complaint are under active consideration as part of the current Fly-Tipping Task and Finish Group.

There are elements which can be improved and the group will aim to address these concerns.

If you wish to complain about fly-tipping please supply any evidence that might help indicate the identity of the culprit.

Fly tips, hazardous waste, litter and animal carcases on the highway and pavements should be reported to Island Roads on 01983 822440 or by emailing info@islandroads.com.

Complaints relating to council public land (parks, beaches, playgrounds, public footpaths etc) should be reported online via the council’s website or by calling the council’s waste services on 01983 823777.

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