Council may act to clean up

PUBLISHED: 18:30 02 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 24 May 2010

COMMUNITY leaders in Backwell are investigating the possibility of using new legal powers to improve residents' quality of life. On April 6, the Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005 came into force which enables parish and town councils to tackle environmental c

COMMUNITY leaders in Backwell are investigating the possibility of using new legal powers to improve residents' quality of life.On April 6, the Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005 came into force which enables parish and town councils to tackle environmental crime and antisocial behaviour.They can now fine those who drop litter, daub graffiti or put up illegal advertisements. The legislation also gives them the power to make and apply dog control orders to cover land in their area, requiring dog owners, for example, to clear up after their pets.If people flout the law, parish and town councils can issue them with fixed penalty notices or take them to court. At a recent meeting, members of Backwell Parish Council considered the pros and cons of using the new powers in respect of dog fouling and litter.To help inform their discussion, Cllr Sue Merriman produced a report, outlining key elements of the act and considerations with regard to its implementation.The report ends with five points, including the question 'Do we need to adopt the powers?' and adds: "There should be full agreement by the council, given the financial implications for both the council and residents."Any revenue from enforcement will probably fall well short of expenditure."As with any such project, it will need the support of all residents. Can we assume that we have that?"It would seem to be the type of initiative which will help improve the quality of life for residents and will contribute to the aims of the (parish council's) three-year plan. For that reason alone it deserves serious consideration."Parish councillors asked Backwell Parish Council's clerk, Maureen Sage, to find out more about the practical implications of the act and how it is working elsewhere in the country. They will discuss the issue again in November.

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