Oldham Liberal Democrats want max fines for thoughtless dog owners

Thoughtless dog owners are being targeted in fresh calls for max on the spot fines.  Liberal Democrats in Oldham Borough want to charge people the maximum allowed by law for those who don’t pick up their dog muck.  Owners who do not observe the law could be fined £100.

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Oldham Council wants the full force of the law to tackle this issue.  He says: “Dog fouling is horrendous; it can make children go blind.  Also, people who fail to control their dogs can have tragic impacts on local residents.”

Councillor Sykes added: “I have raised this with the Deputy Leader and portfolio holder but if nothing happens, like it has before, I will continue to pursue this.  The vast majority of dog owners are responsible.  It is the mindless few that spoil it for everybody.  We need to have zero tolerance with such people”.ENDS/…

Copy of letter:

12 July 2019

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Communities, Oldham Council

Dear Arooj Shah,

Re: Dog Fouling & Nuisance Motion

It is with sadness that I must bring to your attention the dog attack that took place on Saturday the 6 July 2019.  A woman and two children were attacked by an out of control dog in Hollinwood, resulting in serious injuries and the on-site destruction of the animal.

Following this, I must address the Motion that Liberal Democrat Councillor Gloster and Councillor Murphy passed on Wednesday on 20 March 2019 at full council. This Motion resolved to increase the financial penalty for breaching Oldham Borough Council’s Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) from the historic £80 to the proposed £100.

As you know, PSPO & Dog Control Orders can be used to control behaviours which are having or are likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.  With this in mind, the Council decided to increase the penalty given to those who make Oldham unsafe for the wider community four months ago.  Can you explain why this matter has not progressed?

The Liberal Democrat group have recently suggested a range of advancements in enforcing and increasing the penalty to protect our public spaces, including but not limited to: the defence of Saddleworth Moor from arson attacks.  It goes without saying that in the lambing season this year, a month after the Council motion passed, six sheep have been mauled to death near the Wharmton Mast at Greenfield.  Local press reports that Farmers are looking at lethal alternatives to protect livestock if people cannot control their dogs. Is this the kind of Borough we want to live in?

Considering the recent problems, myself and colleagues recently met with the Dogs Trust, a well-known and respected charity.  The purpose of this meeting was to bring the matter to the attention of the council and its residents, how dogs can improve the physical wellbeing of Oldhamers through exercise, how to clean up after your dog and the health importance of being a hygienic owner, when to and when not to let your dog off the lead and respecting other people and dogs.

Chris Gloster, one of my Shaw Ward colleagues has been active to place more signs regarding dog fouling around the area. The aims of Liberal Democrats and Dogs Trust campaign are simple. We want to encourage the many responsible dog owners recognising the good work they do but also highlight the irresponsible few to think again about how their behaviour impacts on others. 

I think it’s important to add that knowing how to look after your dog properly can improve the area and even go as far as saving someone’s life. I advise the Deputy Leader to give the Council an update on the timetable for implementation of the Motion, if it has not already been addressed and ask what advancements have been made upon current enforcement of the council’s protection orders.

I look forward to receiving your response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Howard Sykes

Liberal Democrats seek crack down on litterers and fly-tippers from moving vehicles

Liberal Democrat Councillor and leader of the opposition on Oldham Council, Howard Sykes MBE highlights in a letter to the Council, recent steps taken over the border in Bradford to tackle people who casually throw litter from the windows of their vehicle.

The steps taken by Bradford City Council involve issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice for littering on the car owner.  Therefore, avoiding the difficult job of identifying the offender when observing littering from a moving vehicle.

Councillor Sykes has written to environment bosses at Oldham Council – Carol Brown and Helen Lockwood – urging them to adopt a similar in Oldham Borough.

“This is a simple thing we can do to help tackle the blight of littering.  I hope the Council will adopt this without delay,” stated Councillor Sykes.E

The following is a letter to Carol Brown (Environmental Services at Oldham Borough Council) and Helen Lockwood (Deputy Chief Executive Oldham Borough Council) from Councillor Howard Sykes regarding the issue of littering in the Borough:

12 July 2019

Dear Helen Lockwood, Carol Brown,

Re: Fines for Litterers & Fly-Tippers

Recent Fixed Penalty Charge notices in Bradford have been issued to tackle people casually and criminally throwing litter from the windows of their car.  As a Borough that contains hundreds of thousands of people, we must act now to contain the spread of discarded off hand waste in our area for fears that a little trickle of litter thrown from a vehicle here and there could mount up and seriously devastate the environment in which we live.

Plastic pollution is currently one of the world’s biggest environmental concerns.  It may seem likely that large amounts of plastic waste are inevitable with such a big population, but we can help with the plastic pollution issue by being aware of its dangers and taking steps to reduce waste, by doing our bit, as a proud cooperative Council.  Going back as far as July 2016, Oldham Liberal Democrats put forward a motion introducing a new Bin App to streamline waste management make recycling easy and accessible.

Even with this inclusive technology and local community groups like MAHDLO and Friends of Jubilee Colliery engaging in litter-picks over the years, the Council need to emulate other areas in their modern efforts to prevent littering.

These steps taken in the proposals by Bradford City Council seek to place the Fixed Penalty Notice with the car owner since identifying the sole individual responsible is often difficult for law enforcement when observing a moving vehicle.

The amount of rubbish in the region will increase as the population grows, and disposable plastic products, like water bottles and fizzy drinks cans, accumulate over time. Plastic pollution occurs when enough plastic has gathered in an area that it affects the natural environment and harms plants, animals, or humans.

In March 2019, the Oldham Liberal Democrats have called upon the Council to increase fines for dog fouling and we as a group think it appropriate to extend the fine to those who have taken it upon themselves to soil the locality with rubbish.

Considering this, can I ask what steps are being taken to tackle litterers?  Plastic toxins in dumps and from litter can seep into our groundwater rivers and reservoirs, which people drink out of every day.  In our parks and countryside, wind can carry plastic waste throughout the environment leaving no picturesque view safe from litter.

I hope you take the time to review this information and take the appropriate steps to be active on this environmental and social issue.

I look forward to receiving your response as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Howard Sykes

Oldham Full Council 10 July 2019

Under Council Procedure Rules:

10.13 Points of Order or Personal Explanation.

A Member may raise a point of order or make a personal explanation at any time.

Personal Explanation in response to a public question from Warren Bates

Thank you, Madam Mayor, for giving me another opportunity to clarify what I very clearly meant in my question to the Leader of the Council at our meeting in December 2018.

Can I also thank Mr Bates for asking this question allowing me to further clarify any confusion that may have been caused the good citizens of our Borough.

Members will be aware that I responded to a near identical question to this one from Mr Charles Garrity at the March 2019 Council meeting.

At that time, I made clear that my comments were directed at the politicians who brought us Brexit, the very people who have brought us to this point’, rather than being directed at individual voters in this Borough, whether they voted leave or remain.

For the benefit of questioner Mr Warren Bates, a former UKIP Councillor, I am happy to once again to clarify this matter and hopefully put this matter finally to bed.  But I suspect not!

Mr Bates only quotes an extract of my question, and one might speculate that this is for the purposes of mischief-making and mis-representing what I said.

As with any question, it is important to look at this extract in the context of the entire question to properly appreciate it.

So I would first urge anyone with an interest to view the entire question on the Council’s website at https://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200608/meetings/1940/live_council_meetings_online

And do look at it on the council web site not the edited versions and extracts that UKIP and its supporters have posted!

To aid viewers, I asked the question 1 hour, 42 minutes and 36 seconds into the proceedings.

Viewers may also wish to refer to my earlier reply to Mr Garrity’s question submitted to the March 2019 Council which can be found using the same link.

The question was read out by the Mayor in Mr Garrity’s absence, starting at 17 minutes and 28 seconds into proceedings and I provided my personal clarification from 19 minutes 53 seconds.

I would now like to spell out what I meant with specific reference to the extract quoted by Mr Bates in his so-called question.

Given that I previously referenced the former Soviet Union and the Western allies in the context of the Cold War, the ‘Here’ Mr Bates highlights clearly refers to is the UK, not Oldham, and the UK’s political establishment rather than its people.

I am personally convinced that to remain within the European Union is in the best interests of our Borough and its people.

As a member of the largest trading bloc in the world, Britain benefits from the most favourable terms of trade with its European neighbours, trade that is free of red-tape and bureaucracy.

In addition, millions of British citizens every year enjoy the benefits of membership by being able to travel, learn, work, holiday, fall in love, marry, raise a family, and live freely in any of the European member states.

And, lastly and most importantly, we should not forget that the European Union, and before it the EEC, has ensured that the member nations of Europe have never gone to war since 1945 – a blessed and unprecedented 74 – years of peace that our forebears in 1914 and 1939 must have desperately hoped for.

Consequently, my reference to ‘Little Englanders and Swivel Eyed Loons’ was specifically directed at those of our country’s political leaders who want to jeopardise this by so wilfully wishing to cast aside the many benefits of European Union membership.

And they are also very happy to mislead the British public in order to do so.  So they spoke of an illusory ‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ as a promise to the British people if we abandoned the club – or, as I put it, ‘breaking faith with the neighbours’ – even though our net financial contribution per annum, our membership fee so to speak, is only half that much!

What they did not speak of were the consequences of a No Deal Brexit.

This scenario is what I refer to as ‘frightening stuff’.

A scenario where medicines are in short supply.

Where there are food shortages, especially of perishable food, and price rises as a result.

Of passenger jets and air freight being delayed, even assuming they have the right permits to fly.

Of long queues of holidaymakers awaiting greater scrutiny of their new Blue passports by overzealous border officials.

And of lorry parks and traffic jams tens of miles long along the highways of Southern England and Northern Ireland because of the many new checks that will need to be carried out as a result of new ‘hard borders’ being created between mainland Britain and mainland Europe, and between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

This is indeed ‘frightening stuff’, Madam Mayor. 

This is not Project Fear, this is the Project Reality of a No Deal Brexit.

I hope and trust that this will provide final clarification on this matter for Mr Bates and others with an interest in this matter tonight, and that we can now move on in this Chamber to addressing our other pressing business matters that impact on the lives of our Borough’s citizens tonight.