I am writing as a result of reading of the formation by Isle of Wight Council of a cross-party group of councillors to consider fly-tipping, litter and related problems.

As well as understanding from recent media coverage that no penalties have been issued for fly-tipping, this is a recent experience of the current lack of enforcement by the Isle of Wight Council of dog-fouling.

At the beginning of August 2021, CCTV footage was obtained of two individuals allowing their dogs to foul in Brading and not clearing up afterwards.

In the case of one of the individuals, it happened several times in the same place.

The identity of the two people concerned was quickly ascertained locally and the information and CCTV footage forwarded to the Isle of Wight Council Environmental Health Department.

The officer dealing commented on the good quality of the footage.

There was no problem with the CCTV evidence obtained, which would certainly have been admissible in court and provide proof of guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.

Weeks went by, which became months. To this day no result of any action has been notified and it would appear there hasn't been any such action.

Eventually, complaint was made to Brading's Isle of Wight councillor, Jonathan Bacon, who is also cabinet member for environment, heritage and waste management.

As well as exchanges of emails, two meetings were held with him which were also attended by the Brading town clerk, and one of which was attended by the Mayor of Brading.

It transpires that for some years, parish councils have been obliged by Isle of Wight Environmental Health Department to pay a levy, in Brading's case over £600 pa, if they wanted dog warden attention and enforcement action.

It's understood that this levy was never sanctioned by councillors, but unilaterally applied by officers.

After several years of paying the levy, enquiry was made by Brading Town Council regarding historical enforcement.

It transpired there had been no enforcement action at all and just one visit by the dog warden to the parish in all that time!

Not unsurprisingly, the parish council took the decision to save the precept payer some money and declined to pay the levy in future.

Hence, the complete lack of any enforcement action, including the recent case mentioned despite there being 'high quality' CCTV evidence.

Now, I don't doubt Cllr. Bacon's sincerity or good intentions, but it's simply not good enough to issue statements about how fly-tipping and dog-fouling won't be tolerated and forming a cross-party group to report 'later in the year'.

Enforcement action is required, where evidence is available and it's required whenever enforceable cases come to light.

Residents, who will already have paid for environmental services through their council tax, should not be required to pay twice under threat of receiving no service unless they do pay up a second time through the precept.

The Isle of Wight Council needs to show that it’s serious about tackling the problem of improper waste disposal, not just continuing to issue fine words on the subject.

This isn't a matter that needs endless political negotiations, it just needs the Isle of Wight Environmental Health department to get their finger out and do the job council tax-payers, as well as precept payers, are paying them to do.

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