Greenwich Council has delayed plans to remove all dog waste bins from parks and woodlands around the Borough following an intervention by Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury.
Spencer raised the issues of bins being removed after noticing one had disappeared from his regular walk at the start of May. The initial response from the Council was to confirm its intention “to remove all park dog bins as a budget saving linked to the Council’s Medium-Term Financial Strategy”. There was a suggestion that the removal plan agreed in February 2020 had been put on hold due to Covid during 2020/21 but the Council intended to remove the dog waste bins in 2021/22, with the removal of the bin Spencer noticed being one of the first.
Spencer then wrote directly to the Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities & Equalities pointing out that the original plan had not been to remove all dog waste bins as he had raised this at the Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting which had discussed the issue and the minutes noted that in response to his question: “dog waste bins in parks would only be removed when there was already a normal park bin in the vicinity as dog waste could be disposed of in the general waste bins.”
The letter also pointed out that the increased level of usage of the parks, combined with greater levels of dog ownership meant that the whole plan to remove bins (at a time when the Council was regularly pleading with residents to take their rubbish home as bins were overflowing) meant that if all dog waste bins were removed there would be a substantial rise in the amount of faeces covering the green spaces which so many residents (not just dog walkers) really enjoyed.
The full letter can be read here:
While no formal response was received from the Cabinet Member, the Council’s Officers did confirm that no further removal of bins would happen until after the summer(peak park usage period) and plans would be reviewed at that point. A further reassurance was given that no dog waste bin would be removed if there was not a normal waste bin close by (reflecting the assurance originally given to Spencer in February 2020). So the current situation is that only 6 bins have been removed, which are located in Charlton (1); Coldharbour (3), Eltham (1) and Abbey Wood (1).
Spencer said “I am pleased my intervention had meant the removal of bins has stopped for the moment. I think this policy needs to be reviewed, not least as the Council are clearly struggling with the current bins overflowing but also as the proposed saving of £12,000 could lead to a really negative impact on the condition of our parks and woodlands.
I know dog waste bins are not the normal focus of debate in the Council, but I hope this intervention will mean that our green spaces remain places which our everyone can enjoy without having to worry about what they are stepping in.”