Loopy or poopy? How dog mess could soon be powering your kettle...

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 June 2014

Archant

A QUIRKY proposal to reduce rogue dog fouling in Burnham and use animal waste to generate electricity has been unveiled to town councillors.

The scheme would see smartphone apps and social media used to alert dog owners to the location of bins and the best places to take walks, and potential incentives awarded to anyone reporting a fouling incident.

Collected dog waste would be converted into renewable energy through an anaerobic digestion system dubbed ‘poopy power’, with each defecation providing enough power to make two cups of tea.

Burnham has been invited to take part in the pilot scheme launched and 75 per cent funded by GeoVation, the innovation arm of Ordnance Survey, and Wales-based project designers Streetkleen.

Streetkleen managing director Gary Downie addressed a Burnham and Highbridge Town Council meeting on Monday, and said education and engagement would be at the forefront of the scheme, if accepted.

He said they had been alerted to Burnham’s plight after reading about plans to introduce more dog wardens in the town, a method at odds with Streetkleen’s proposition.

He said: “Dog waste management is a huge issue which needs tackling. We found the three Es - education, engagement and enforcement, in that order, was the way to go.

“What we have found is that handing out more fines through more wardens can impact negatively and the perception of cleanliness to the electorate actually goes down.

“It is about changing perception. Twenty years ago, if you said you were going to recycle a bottle of drink people would have thought it was very unusual. When you first tell people, they don’t believe it will catch on but they are soon won over.”

The proposal will now go forward to be discussed at the council’s next policy and finance committee meeting on Monday.

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