The looming demise of the Scottish Borders Wardens Service is suspected as the reason for no sign of a decline in dog fouling in the Cheviot area.
That was the view of warden Mike Marsh, speaking at this week’s April meeting of Kelso Community Council on Tuesday night.
Mr Marsh was giving his own final briefing to the town’s elected representatives since the decision earlier this year by the local authority to scrap the eight-strong warden force as part of savings measures.
It was back in February that the ruling administration at SBC managed to push through its proposal to scrap the community wardens scheme from 2014/15 – saving £264,000 per year – as part of its approved budget of £250million for each of the next five years.
Covering topics such as anti-social behaviour, littering and fly-tipping, it was the perennial problem subject of dog fouling that Mr Marsh focussed on this week.
He said in the Cheviot area, which covers Kelso and Jedburgh, the problem was not going away.
“Dog fouling is not going down and I think it’s because people know that the Wardens Service will shortly no longer be in existence,” he added.
“In some areas it seems to be increasing, but we’ve not gone away just yet,” he said, pledging that the issue would continue to be tackled.
Some of the warden’s role, such as dealing with dog fouling, will be picked up by a new Neighbourhood Service section – set up as part of restructuring in SBC’s Environment and Infrastructure Department – albeit delivered in a different way from the Wardens Service.
Community councillors at Kelso heard wardens issued 10 fixed penalty notices across the Borders to dog owners during March.
That brought the total for the year so far to 33, with wardens also witnessing 323 dog walkers picking up dog dirt, bringing that particular total to 993.
Members of the public had reported nine areas of concern relating to dog fouling, which were Kelso (pathway by Border Precision/Maxwell Motors; Spylaw Farm Road; Riverside Walk and Ferniehill Cemetery), Jedburgh (Beech Walk), Newtown St Boswells (Whitefield Crescent; path between Davidson Place and Roxburgh Place) and St Boswells (Thoartergate).
Mr Marsh thanked the community council for its support. Provost Fiona Scott reciprocated, thanking Mr Marsh, and adding: “I will be sorry to see you go.”