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If you're a dog owner in Rhondda Cynon Taff, a huge clampdown could be coming your way

You'll be able to have your say on increased fines, dog bans on sports fields and schools, and fines if owners don't carry bags

There could soon be a big clampdown on dog fouling in Rhondda Cynon Taff - including potential fines for pet owners who don't carry bags to pick up dog mess.

Also being considered are bans for dogs on marked sports pitches and schools, a requirement for them to be kept on leads in playgrounds and cemeteries, and an increase in the maximum fine for irresponsible owners.

Separate suggestions for a clampdown have been put forward by the Labour-led council and the Plaid Cymru opposition group.

Plaid, at the end of January, revealed to us that their proposed action is one of its main pledges if they took office following the local election in May.

The RCT Plaid group said it would take immediate steps to introduce a £75 fine for those who can't prove they have a bag, or other means, to pick up dog mess - if they are questioned by a council officer.

They include highlighting areas where dogs would be banned (marked sports pitches and schools) and where they must be put on leads (council playgrounds and cemeteries), as well as an increase in dog fouling fines to a maximum of £100.

People will also be asked about the requirement for people to carry dog bags, or other means of picking up dog mess.

Pauline Jarman, councillor for Mountain Ash East, said Plaid's announcement came about after an online survey revealed that 95% of participants are concerned about dog mess on streets and public places, and 74% are very concerned.

She added that 69% of people who responded to the survey believe the amount of dog mess has increased and that communities want to see more action on the matter in RCT.

The leader of the local Plaid group said: “The proposed new rule is designed to target the irresponsible dog owners who fail to pick up dog mess because they do not carry the means to do so.

“Enforcement officers will have the authority to approach any dog walker and ask them to produce evidence that they either have bags or other means to clean up if the dog should foul.

"The offence is committed if the dog walker is unable to show the enforcement officer that they have that means.

“Most dog walkers would be able to satisfy the enforcement officers that they have the means to clean up should their dog foul because they carry sufficient bags.

“A Plaid Cymru-controlled council would trigger the public consultation shortly after they took office in May. Public opinion will valued and be fully taken into account.”

Meanwhile, the council's cabinet members will consider starting a public consultation to get residents' views on a wide range of dog fouling issues.

Andrew Morgan, leader of the council, said: “The issue of dog fouling has been a prevalent one, particularly over the last year to 18 months, and one which we have tried to tackle through awareness-raising, enforcement where necessary, provision of free dog bags and the installation of a number of new dog bins across the county borough every year.

“Recent engagement with residents at consultation events and feedback received via social media has consistently flagged up dog fouling as an issue and unfortunately it is clear that there are still some irresponsible dog owners who refuse to clean up after their dogs - and it can’t continue.

“Unfortunately there are some who don’t even carry dog bags with them when they walk their dogs.

"In this instance officers currently provide bags free-of-charge to encourage them to clean up after their dogs, but the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order would allow the council to be much tougher on irresponsible dog owners."

Councillor Joy Rosser, RCT cabinet member for prosperity, well-being and communities, added: “There are a range of options available to councils and we want to seek the views of residents regarding what measures they would like to see introduced in RCT to tackle this issue.

“In the meantime we are grateful for the support of South Wales Police who have agreed to a major joint enforcement operation involving dozens of police and council enforcement staff aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour - which includes dog fouling."

 

Here's when free parking and reduced charges will start across five Rhondda Cynon Taff towns
People in Aberdare, Pontypridd, Porth, Mountain Ash and Tonypandy will soon benefit

Free or reduced parking across five Rhondda Cynon Taff towns will come into force in two months' time.

During January, RCT council's cabinet members agreed to introduce the measures in a bid to boost the local economy - going beyond recommendations to reduce the charges in Porth, Mountain Ash and Tonypandy by abolishing the fees.

The reduced fees - including a 50p short stay of one hour (down from 75p) and £1 two-hour stays (down from £1.50) - will still come into force in Aberdare and Pontypridd.

Long stays will also be reduced from £2.50 to £2 in Aberdare and Pontypridd, along with monthly permits from £37.50 to £20, annual permits from £375 to £200, and all-day Saturday parking from £2.50 to £1.
The changes will start from April

It has now been confirmed all of the changes will come into effect from Saturday, April 1.

RCT council leader Andrew Morgan, writing in his latest blog on the council website, said: "Significant reductions in charges were agreed for our key town centres of Aberdare and Pontypridd and charges will be removed in Mountain Ash, Tonypandy and Porth from April 1.

"We fully recognise that the trader environment for local shops and businesses is the most challenging it has ever been and the rationale for this decision was simple – to encourage more residents to opt to shop locally in our town centres, to improve local trade and to boost the local economy.

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