Herefordshire is to trial using a private enforcement firm to tackle littering and dog fouling in the county.

According to a proposal signed off yesterday (March 21) by Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for community Coun Ange Tyler, the council will contract an outside organisation to provide littering and dog fouling enforcement for a trial period of 12 months, with an option to then extend this for up to five years.

The trial contract “will enable the enforcement capacity to be increased without this cost being passed to the council”, as the contracted firm will take a profit from the enforcement revenue they raise, with “an agreed surplus returned to the council”, the decision said.


Currently the council’s community protection team enforce laws against littering and dog fouling “on an intelligence-led basis”, it explained.

In 2021/22 there were 127 complaints of dog fouling and five for littering in Herefordshire, leading to 23 fixed penalty notices being issued in 2021.

In the current financial year to end of February, there had been 132 complaints of dog fouling and just one for littering, with 12 fixed penalty notices issued.

The council decision warned that revenue from fines could be insufficient for the contractor to cover their costs, “making their proposition non-viable” – hence the decision to trial the scheme first.

If a high number of offenders fail to pay the resulting fixed-penalty notices, pursuing them through the courts could also represent a potential cost to the council, and could “affect other more serious criminal prosecutions”.


“Another real risk experienced by other local authorities is that overzealous enforcement encouraged for income generation reasons by the contractor can result in negative publicity,” the decision said.

Last June the Government warned councils not to treat such enforcement contracts as a means of generating revenue locally.

A spokesperson for Herefordshire Council said: “The detail of what the trial will cover will be determined through the tendering process to provide this service, but will include the city and market towns.”

The council added that a volunteer parish officer scheme currently being piloted in the county “can still be pursued, with or without the contract”.

Under this, volunteers advise dog walkers regarding the need to pick up dog waste, offer dog poo bags and then, if the person persists, refer the information to the community protection team for enforcement.

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