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Liberal Democrat Leader cries ‘Foul’ over reduced action on irresponsible dog owners

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has expressed his disappointment and frustration over figures revealed through a recent Freedom of Information Act request which show that Oldham Council have massively reduced action on irresponsible dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets.  The figures show that in 2017 only one dog owner was prosecuted and the offender received only a £40 fine.

Councillor Sykes said: “This inaction sends out completely the wrong signal to irresponsible and inconsiderate dog owners.  The vast majority of dog owners accept that as part of the responsibility of pet ownership they must clean up after their dog in the interests of public health and to help keep our streets and public parks clean, but regrettably a few do not.  The fine of £40 is also derisory when the consequences, particularly for children, of coming into contact with dog faeces, such as blindness, can be so grave.”

Councillor Sykes added: “According to these figures the number of public complaints received went down from 425 in 2013 to 40 in 2017.  This doesn’t add up – councillors constantly receive complaints about dog fouling; it is one of our biggest causes of complaint.  This leads me to believe that people are not reporting this, because they can see that no action is taken and offenders are simply not prosecuted.  We need to see more action from Council on this now that is what the public wants to see!”

The Freedom of Information Act request follows is below:

13 April 2018

Freedom of Information request regarding Dog Fouling-11820

In response to your Freedom of Information Request regarding dog fouling, Oldham Council is happy to provide the following information;

Year Complaints received FPNs served Prosecutions
2013 425 13 5
2014 147 21 2
2015 84 17 0
2016 77 5 0
2017 40 3 1

2013

£100 fine £200 costs

12 month conditional discharge £60 costs

£200 fine £400 costs

12 month conditional discharge £100 costs

£65 fine £100 costs

2014

£80 fine £100 costs

£80 fine £250 costs

2017

£40 fine £50 costs

The Women’s Concessionary Travel Scheme pass

If you are female, born between 6 October 1953 and 5 November 1954 and are a permanent resident in Greater Manchester then you will qualify for a Women’s Concessionary Travel pass from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) from the date that you would have reached pensionable age before the 2011 Pensions Act came into effect. With this pass, you can travel free on buses, trains and trams in Greater Manchester during off-peak hours:

  • from 9.30am to midnight, Monday to Friday
  • all day at weekends and on public holidays

If you travel outside of these times you must pay the full adult fare.

Do you qualify?

To get this concessionary pass from TfGM you must:

  • be female
  • live in Greater Manchester and
  • be born between 6 October 1953 and 5 November 1954

If you meet the criteria above, you can apply for the pass up to 21 days before the date that you would have reached pensionable age before the 2011 Pensions Act came into effect. As this differs depending on your date of birth you will need to check using the information below to find out if you can apply.

Cost and benefits

There is a £10 administration charge for your pass. Your pass will expire when you reach your pensionable age at which point you will receive an English National Concessionary Travel pass.

It gives you free travel on:

All local buses, Metrolink trams and on (scheduled) trains within Greater Manchester between 9.30am and midnight Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends and on public holidays.

If you travel outside of these times you must pay the full adult fare.

Two boundary maps are available that show you where you can travel within Greater Manchester, one for buses (2MB) and the other for trains and trams (635KB).

Apply for a pass

You can download an application form or pick one up from your nearest TfGM Travelshop.

If you are eligible, complete the relevant application form and attach the following supporting materials:

  • A passport sized colour photograph of yourself
  • Proof of age – a copy of either your birth certificate, medical card, passport or driving licence
  • Proof of your address – a copy of either a utility bill, local council tax bill or a Department for Work and Pensions letter from within the last 12 months

Please do not send original documents

You can post your form and supporting documents to the address on the application form or take it to a Travelshop where staff can check your documents.

Your pass will be sent in the post to you, please allow 10 working days for your pass to be processed.

How to use your pass

By bus

If you are travelling by bus you must either touch your pass to the smart reader when boarding or, if there isn’t a smart reader present, show it to the driver.

By tram

You must touch your pass to the smart reader before boarding a Metrolink tram in order to validate your entitlement to free travel. You must also touch your pass to the smart reader when you finish your journey. You must do this whenever you are entitled to travel free of charge. Metrolink readers are at every stop on the network.

You need to present your card when requested to any Transport for Greater Manchester or transport operator official during your journey.

By train

If you are travelling by train, you will need to present your pass to a train ticket inspector or conductor to travel.

What to do if you lose your pass

It is important that you take care of your pass as there is a £10 charge for the replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged passes.

If you have registered your card with the get me there website, you are able to request a replacement pass directly from the site.

Alternatively, Call TfGM on 0161 244 1000 (7am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm at weekend and public holidays) or visit your nearest Travelshop to order your replacement card.

Change of address

If you change your address, it is your responsibility to inform TfGM as there may be a £10 charge for the replacement of a pass that is sent to an old address.

What happens when your pass is due to expire?

At least two weeks before your pass expires, we will issue you with your English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) pass meaning that you do not need to take any action.

Terms and Conditions

Full Terms and Conditions are available for the Women’s Concessionary Travel Scheme pass.

Milne Street car park improvements , Shaw Town Centre

Councillor Howard Sykes and Chris Gloster are pleased to report they have secured funding to improve the well-used Milne Street car park, off Eastway – rear of Market Street.

Work to resurface and improve Milne Street car park will commence on 23rd April, hopefully finishing on the 27th April 2018 (weather permitting).

Apologies for any disruption this may cause you, but I hope like me you look forward to a much improved and usable car park.

Why vote Liberal Democrat in the Oldham Council elections on May 3?

Local government finance has been hit big time by Conservative Government cuts.

Some of our services are now in real danger of collapse.  The eight Liberal Democrat Councillors have spoken out against the cuts; the Conservatives and UKIP continue to stay silent.

We also provide the only opposition to Labour with their 44 councillors (out of 60), challenging decisions we feel are detrimental to the borough’s residents, and proposing practical solutions to the borough’s problems.  UKIP and the Conservatives say nothing, do nothing and often vote with Labour.

We also believe that Oldham Council must get the basics right.  People want clean streets; potholes filled; and an end to fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

We proposed a ‘war on waste’ by cutting Civic Centre bureaucracy to free up over £650,000 to invest in highways improvements, youth services, tackling fly tipping and installing alley gates and CCTV cameras to help make streets across the Borough cleaner and safer.  Labour voted against our proposals; UKIP and the Conservatives could not even be bothered to turn up to the meeting!

The Liberal Democrats are a party that puts people and communities first.  Voting Liberal Democrat means opposing Labour’s land grab of our irreplaceable green belt, supporting sound finance and reliable public services, and electing councillors who will face the challenges in local government head on – delivering the services you expect whilst squeezing much better value from your Council Tax.

It also means you will elect a local councillor who will be your champion and always be on your side!

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Liberal Democrat and Opposition Leader, Oldham Council and Councillor for Shaw Ward.

Liberal Democrats welcome crackdown on fly-tippers

Your Shaw and Crompton Liberal Democrat Councillors have welcomed plans for people to be fined up to £400 if they fail to employ a licensed firm to take away their waste.

Fly-tipping is the bane of everyone’s lives and an issue that features highly in the complaints we receive.  It is a blight on our environment and costs Oldham Council – and you – millions to clear it up.  This is cash that could be better spent on looking after our elderly citizens or fixing our crumbling roads.

Please ask to see the licence of anyone you want to employ to take away your waste.  You can also check the Waste Carriers, Brokers and Dealers register held by the Environment Agency online at https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/index.