Proposals to ban dogs from North Devon’s beaches and off lead on the Tarka Trail look set to be dropped if councillors approve a raft of measures later this month.
A full meeting of North Devon Council will be asked to ratify a range of measures to tackle dog mess and uncontrolled dogs, unanimously recommended for approval by the strategy and resources committee this morning (Friday, November 13).
Controversial plans to ban off-leash dogs on the Tarka Trail and a summer dog ban on Saunton Sands, Woolacombe, Putsborough and Instow have been scrapped from the initial proposals.
It follows a public consultation earlier this year, when North Devon’s residents were invited to comment on the proposals, with over 3,000 responses being received.
There are still a number of measures reccomended for the new district Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to address anti-social behaviour associated with irresponsible dog ownership.
The council said they aim to target the actions of a minority of dog owners who fail to pick up dog waste and allow their pets to run out of control, whilst still providing open spaces where owners can freely exercise their dogs.
They include the requirement for people to pick up after their dog and for owners to place any out of control dog on a lead if requested.
Dogs should also be on lead in a public cemetery and would not be allowed on any formal sports pitch or enclosed children’s play area.
They would be banned from Croyde andCombe Martin beaches between May 1 and September 30.
They should not be near any high tide bird roosting sites between October 1 and Marchn31.
They should also be on a lead in certain locations in Braunton Burrows at certain times of year – as clarified by the landowner.
Fines of £100 would be issued to anyone breaking the new rules, if they are passed by the full council.
Andy Cole, environmental protection service lead, in his report to the meeting said there was majority support for the controls in relation to controlling dog fouling, dog control, the formal sports pitches, the Braunton Burrows special area of conservation and high tide resting sites, but majority opposition for the controls on the amenity beaches and the Tarka Trail.
He added: “Individual landowners who request controls to be introduced on their land will be required to install signage as per the finalised Council designs.
“A high profile communications exercise will be undertaken to promote responsible dog ownership and to ensure there is a high level of awareness of the controls amongst the community.”
Supporting the new controls, Councillor Netti Pearson, lead member for environment said: “Dogs can be wonderful companions and bring health and social benefits to their owners, the majority of whom are very responsible when it comes to their pets.
“It’s a shame that we need to consider any sort of control but there is a small minority in our district who persist with the antisocial behaviour associated with dog fouling and failure to control their dogs.
“It was great to see the number of responses we got and the report reflects the feelings that we had. I fully support the proposals which are as unrestrictive as possible but make sure we have shared spaces that everyone can use comfortably.”
Cllr Frank Biederman added: “I am pleased with the outcome and this is something that will help everyone enjoy our outdoor spaces, dog owners and non-dog owners alike.”