THE leaders of Trafford’s Conservative and Labour groups have clashed over the issue of dog fouling enforcement.

Figures obtained by Messenger show that 173 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued for environmental offences, including dog fouling, between April 2013 and March 2014 – the period following council-implemented changes to environmental enforcement.

A council spokesman confirmed that the overall number of FPNs issued for environmental offences, including dog fouling, between 2012/13 was 1,591 – but pointed out that this included 1,125 FPNs for litter offences from moving vehicles, which the council ceased to prosecute from March 2013 – and therefore, claimed that a more comparable figure is 466.

Therefore, using the 466 figure, there were almost three times as many people fined in the previous year.

Trafford Council leader, Cllr Sean Anstee, said a legal ruling was a responsible for the decline in fines issued.

Cllr Sean Anstee, said: “The council ceased activity for rubbish thrown as a result of a legal judgment that barred council officers from fining motorists who drop litter out of their cars unless proof was provided who the driver actually was and hence why the 466 figure is more comparable, year on year.

“The difference in the figures is consistent with a year on year fall of the number of requests received for enforcement action, especially in relation to dog fouling.”
But leader of Trafford Labour group, Cllr David Acton, accused the Conservative leader of being ‘economical with the facts’.

“Cllr Anstee needs to compare the figures for 2012/13 where there were 1,591 fixed penalties issued.

“This was before the Conservatives began to run down the enforcement team and the announcement to discontinue the team,” said Cllr Acton.

“There has been a significant decrease in the issuing of FPNs which has left many areas suffering with littered streets and more fly-tipping.”

Cllr Anstee accused the Labour group of misleading residents.

“However, enforcement itself is not the only solution and does not tackle the root cause of the problem,” he said.

“The launch of the ‘Be Responsible’ campaign is part of our wider approach to help protect our environment and keep our streets and parks clean.”

“It’s a shame the Labour party in Trafford continue to act so irresponsibly.”