Axnminster council says dog bin plan is “barking”

District authority accused of shirking responsibility for protecting public health

A COST-SAVING scheme to get the public to sponsor dog poo bins has been branded a “barking” idea by councillors at Axminster.

East Devon District Council says it can no longer afford to provide containers, which cost around �160 to install and �200 a year to empty.

Instead it wants businesses or individuals to sponsor any new ones and has asked town and parish councils to co ordinate the “Big Society” scheme.

But some Axminster councillors think the authority is trying to shirk its responsibility for protecting public health.

And members have accused them of “tinkering around the edges” in a bid to save money.

Their criticism follows a letter from East Devon environmental health officer Debbie Challice in which she pointed out that the district council had over 350 well-used dog bins which are emptied three times a week.

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The contractor removed a staggering 270 tonnes of dog excrement every year.

She continued: “The environment department frequently receives requests for additional bins at specific locations but unfortunately, in the current economic climate, we are simply unable to pay for the installation and emptying of any more.

“It is now being suggested that private sponsorship of bins could be a valuable resource for certain local communities.”

She said any sponsors would deal directly with town or parish councils who would then pay the district to install and service them.

The cost would be around �59 to provide dog bin, �60 to �100 to install it and �200 for emptying it, three times a week.

She added: “We believe this proposal is a small but positive step consistent with big society objectives.”

Town councillor Jeremy Walden said they were simply “tinkering around the edges”.

“We should not get involved in this, we should leave it to the district council,” he said.

Councillor Sue Spiller said East Devon was growing rapidly and the provision of dog bins was, surely, an environmental health issue. People could become severely ill and even blind because of dog mess.

“This is something we should be pushing East Devon to provide - not have it sidetracked to town and parish councils,” she said.

“Are they going to allow whole new towns to be built and not put any dog bins in?”

Councillor Graham Godbeer, a retired vet, said the dog owning public should sponsor the bins.

“They are responsible,” he said.

Mayor Ron Jones said he favoured a return to dog licenses which could fund the bins.