About Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
Last Updated: 13 October 2021
The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) came into force on 8 October 2021 for a duration of 3 years.
In addition, there is a new PSPO prohibiting the lighting of fires and barbeques on specified SLDC land.
PSPOs were introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. A PSPO is designed to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in an area. The behaviour must be having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the community, it must be persistent or continuing and it must be unreasonable.
The PSPO can impose restrictions on the use of that area which apply to everyone who is carrying out that activity. The orders are designed to ensure that the law-abiding majority can enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
Further information is available on powers to control dogs and PSPOs.
Why Dog Control Orders have been replaced
The Dog Control Order legislation expired in October 2017 and a PSPO has been used by many other local councils in England to replace Dog Control Orders.
We believe that by introducing a PSPO we can build on the effectiveness of the previous Dog Control Orders in South Lakeland and create a fair and consistent approach when dealing with issues.
How PSPOs differ from Dog Control Orders
Some of the locations covered in the PSPO are different in size and shape compared to the Dog Control Orders.
The PSPO has also allowed us to introduce a limit on the number of dogs that could be walked by a person at any time and a requirement for a dog walker needing to possess the means to pick up faeces if asked to by an authorised officer.
PSPO exemptions and public rights of way
The PSPO would not apply to a registered blind person or someone who has a dog trained by a charity to support a person suffering from mobility, manual dexterity disability or deafness. A dog that is working on the land with the consent of the person in control of the land and a person in control of police or rescue dogs on official duty would also be exempt.
Dogs will not be prohibited from public rights of way, however there may be a requirement to keep dogs on leads in certain areas such as cemeteries, or excluded from children’s play areas or sports pitches.
Responsibilities of dog owners
Owning a dog can bring great happiness but also places a lifelong responsibility on the owner to ensure that the dog is not a hazard, a health risk, or a nuisance to other members of our society. Unfortunately some owners do not take a responsible attitude towards dog ownership and as a result we receive a high number of complaints a year covering a range of issues such as noise nuisance from barking or uncollected dog faeces.
We need to balance the needs of those in charge of dogs with the interests of those affected by the activities of dogs, bearing in mind the need for people, in particular children to have access to dog free areas and areas where dogs are kept under strict control.
If you ignore a PSPO, you can be fined, £100 on the spot (a Fixed Penalty Notice) or up to £1,000 if it goes to court.
You can’t be fined if you’re a registered blind dog owner.
Enforcement of the Order
Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued by any of our Locality Officers or by Police Officers or Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
We are not an authority which aims to issue large numbers of Fixed Penalty Notices. Our preferred and current approach is to encourage responsible behaviour and to issue Fixed Penalty Notices where this guidance is not adhered to.
About the consultation
The consultation closed on 9 March 2021. We directly sought the views of local residents and interested groups (including community and volunteer organisations, other public authorities, dog clubs and football clubs). People have strong views about dogs, whether they are about dog fouling or the rights of dog owners to exercise their dogs.
We ensured that both those directly affected by the proposals and the general public were aware; giving everyone the opportunity to help us in developing the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).
A questionnaire was available to complete either online or as a paper version from our consultation drop in sessions or at our offices across the district. It was available via our social media channels, the locality newsletter to all Town and Parish Councils and notices in the parks and open spaces being consulted on.
Results of the consultation
The results of the consultation helped us decide that the PSPO would be put in place. It also affected how and where the order has been implemented across the district. We considered all the responses in order to achieve the best possible result that balances the needs of the public. A decision on the implementation of the PSPO was made by councillors in May 2021.
Reporting dog fouling
We encourage you to report dog fouling as this will help us to identify hot spot areas and our Locality teams will be able to take a more targeted approach.
Further information is available about who to contact and how to report dog fouling.