Plans to update dog and alcohol controls across the Island go out to consultation today (Wednesday).
New legislation means the Isle of Wight Council and police officers will be gaining new powers to control antisocial behaviour – such as drinking alcohol in public – and dog fouling.
In the past, Dog Control Orders and Designated Public Place Orders have been separate pieces of legislation, but on the Island, as in the rest of England, these are now to be combined in the new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs).
The new orders will allow police officers and the council to continue protecting the Island’s beaches and public open spaces for locals and visitors to enjoy.
Many of the rules which have been in place for the past ten years will remain unchanged under the new PSPOs.
The consultation will seek to confirm these existing arrangements and seek residents’ views on a number of amendments. These mainly concern:
- Dog exclusion zones within fenced children’s playgrounds;
- Dogs on leads in cemeteries; and
- Dogs on leads on some rights of way.
- No new dog exclusion orders are proposed for beaches — the existing orders would simply migrate over to the new PSPOs. Parks and open spaces with no fenced children’s playgrounds are not affected.
The consultation will last for eight weeks with an online survey and opportunities to participate by emailing, in writing or at community drop-in sessions.
After the consultation, all the comments that are made will be considered before any decision is made.
The final decision to agree the new order, with any changes included, will be made by the council’s Cabinet in April.
Councillor John Hobart, Cabinet member for the environment and heritage, said: “Most of the council’s beaches welcome dogs all year round, and I have no intention of changing that.
“The way information on the proposed orders was circulated last year caused a lot of concern and emotion within the community.
“This was a shame, because most of what was proposed was simply migrating the existing orders into new ones.
“There is not, and never has been, any proposal to change overall dog controls on beaches as a part of these new orders and it is disappointing that some people even now are claiming otherwise.
“Dog owners should be reassured that these proposals are needed to move existing orders to the new legislation, with the only proposed changes relating to cemeteries, fenced children’s play areas and some rights of way.
“The intention of dogs on leads in certain areas is about the safety and the enjoyment of the general public. To ensure areas are safe and clean for everyone to use, we have to be strict about asking dog owners to keep their dogs under control and to pick up after them.
“Most people are very responsible when walking their dogs and are happy to keep to these simple rules and we thank them for helping us to maintain pleasant green spaces for all to enjoy.”
Have your say by completing the survey here.
The consultation closes on 15 April 2020.