Hitchin and Letchworth dog walkers hang up bags of poo on posts following waste bins’ removal – but not everyone backs ‘dirty protest’

Dog poo hung in bags on a post that used to hold a dog poo bin in Letchworth. Photo: Helen Stewart

Dog poo hung in bags on a post that used to hold a dog poo bin in Letchworth. Photo: Helen Stewart - Credit: Archant

Dog walkers in Hitchin and Letchworth are protesting against the removal of dog waste bins by hanging their pets’ poo in bags on the now-vacant posts.

Bags of dog poo hanging on one of the vacant posts in Hitchin.

Bags of dog poo hanging on one of the vacant posts in Hitchin. - Credit: Archant

The protest comes after North Herts District Council decided to ditch 180 of its 432 dog waste bins in a move to save £29,000 per year, with the roughly 1,300 litter bins across the district’s parks now accepting dog faeces.

But not everyone is supporting what some have called a ‘dirty protest’, with critics asking why dog owners can’t just find a bin or take their bags of poo home with them.

A North Herts District Council spokesman told the Comet this morning that work had started yesterday to remove the posts, and that they would all be gone by tonight.

An additional 80 litter bins are set to be installed across the parks to help compensate for their loss, with the rebranded bins emptied more frequently to help stop them overflowing.

Dog poo hung in bags on a post that used to hold a dog poo bin in Hitchin.

Dog poo hung in bags on a post that used to hold a dog poo bin in Hitchin. - Credit: Archant

Hitchin dog walker Sue Hardy told the Comet: “The decision to remove the dog waste bins has been an ill-conceived and poorly executed idea.

“Our local three bins on the popular dog walk alongside the brook to the rear of Tennyson Avenue have been removed but not replaced.

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“In their wisdom the council have left the metal stands for the bins in situ – do they want us to hang our bags of dog waste on them for collection? How decorative – I think not!

“Why remove the bins before the replacement is installed? And why leave the bin spikes?

Poo hung in bags on one of the vacant bin posts on Letchworth's Lordship Estate. Photo: Kevin Ferry

Poo hung in bags on one of the vacant bin posts on Letchworth's Lordship Estate. Photo: Kevin Ferry - Credit: Archant

“Totally illogical – and of course there is no guarantee that this popular dog walk route will even get a bin! In which case, what do we do with the bagged dog waste?”

Phil Reichardt added: “Angry dog walkers have had enough and are taking action to force a review of the decision, which was introduced without consultation.”

The new policy, introduced by the council on April 1, was immediately blasted by dog owners and environmentalists alike – with health concerns including the lack of sealed lids on the litter bins.

Pug owner Danny Pearson called the plan a ‘a dog’s dinner of a terrible idea for lots of reasons’, while Richard Cano of the North Herts and Stevenage Green Party blasted it as ‘truly shocking’.

Labour councillor Judi Billing said she and colleagues had not been properly consulted by the Conservative-controlled council, adding: “I’m absolutely horrified to hear of another incredibly stupid cut that will damage the environment and make our streets and parks unsafe for children to play in.”

In wake of the original announcement, district council environmental services chief Vaughan Watson said: “As we all know, the funding structures that have been in place until now are being seriously eroded at all levels by central government, and cost-cutting decisions like this are being made by local authorities across the country.

“Sending the waste collected from litter bins together with dog waste to landfill for disposal will cut costs and will have less of an impact on our communities than other options considered.”

A district council spokeswoman added today: “We apologise for any confusion for the removal of the dog bins before additional litter bins have been installed and where posts have remained.

“We aim to have all the remaining posts removed by the weekend – however in the meantime we urge dog owners to be responsible and to use litter bins to dispose of dog waste or use their purple bins at home.

“Our contractors are in the process of installing an additional 80 all-purpose litter bins to replace the dog waste bins.

“We are sure that once residents are used to the new arrangement they will see the benefit, as it will mean increased frequency of emptying. Litter bins will be maintained daily – more frequently than dog bins, which were maintained weekly.”

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