New public space rules come into force next month

Claire Small's picture
Authored by Claire Small
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 7:50am

New powers aimed at keeping public spaces cleaner and safer and tackling incidents of irresponsible dog ownership come into effect from April 1. 

Teignbridge District Council is introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for dog fouling and control. 

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s executive portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said:  “The PSPO will help us look after our beautiful environment by tacking action against a small minority of irresponsible dog owners who spoil it for others. The public told us they supported the principle of the order, something which will provide a consistent approach to how issues of dog fouling or out-of-control dogs are tackled.” 

When introduced from 1 April the PSPO will mean: 

You must pick up after your dog in public places 

  • Dogs aren’t allowed on some beaches from 1 April to 30 September 
  • Dogs aren't allowed in areas signed as dog exclusion areas (for example, children’s play parks) 
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead in certain areas 
  • Dogs must be kept on leads when walking next to a road, on footpaths next to the road or on cyclepaths. 
  • Where a dog is being a nuisance or annoying to people or other animals, people must put their dog on a lead if asked to do so by a council officer or police officer. 
  • One person can only walk a maximum of six dogs at a time. 
  • You must carry sufficient dog poo bags.

People can report breaches of the PSPO to the council via the website or by phoning the Environment hotline on 0800 328 6402. 

One of the main differences that people need to be aware of is that many Teignbridge beaches will be a dog-free zone a month earlier than usual. The dog exclusion orders will start on April 1, not May 1 as in previous years. Beaches covered by the April 1 exclusion order are Dawlish Warren, Dawlish Town, Dawlish Coryton Cove and Teignmouth Town Beach. 

The Ness Beach, Shaldon, and Holcombe Beach, Dawlish, are not covered by seasonal dog exclusion areas and remain places where people can walk dogs at any time of the year. 

If you ignore the rules contained in the PSPO, you could be fined £100 (fixed penalty notice) or up to £1,000 if it goes to court. You won’t be fined if you have an exemption from the order. 

It’s recognised that most people who walk their dogs are responsible owners, pick up after their pets and keep them under proper control. But there are a minority who aren’t. 

Historically it’s been tricky for the council to deal with incidents because the law has been patchy in places and difficult to apply consistently. The PSPO sets one standard across the district. 

Teignbridge made a commitment to review its policy on dog fouling and restricted access across the district’s open spaces and beaches through its 10-year Council Strategy, a long-term plan of action aimed at making Teignbridge and healthy and more desirable place where people want to live, work and visit. 

The benefit of a PSPO to residents of Teignbridge is that officers will be able to issue fixed penalty notices to those caught ignoring the rules on dog fouling and controls in any public place within the district. This is a quick resolution however persistent offenders can still be prosecuted. 

Full Council adopted the PSPO on 14 January 2019. An Overview and Scrutiny Committee review group will monitor the PSPO including the number of dogs someone can walk at a time to see if it works or not. The group met for the first time on Monday 4 March, ahead of the PSPO coming into force to establish its terms of reference.