Belfast Telegraph

By-laws to target dogs, noisy pubs and car leaflets

By Linda Stewart

Dog-free zones, fines of up to £500 for noisy pubs and designated areas where handing out advertising literature is banned are among a planned raft of new by-laws to equip Ulster’s councils to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Stormont’s environment committee yesterday heard of plans to give councils powers to ban dogs from certain areas and to restrict the number of dogs that people can walk at any one time.

Pubs that pose a noise nuisance could be fined up to £500, while noisy domestic offenders could be fined up to £100.

The Clean Neighbourhoods Bill is aimed at cutting out much of the bureaucracy that hampers council attempts to tackle anti-social behaviour and littering, DOE officials told the committee.

Councils will also be able to plough the money raised by the fines back into measures to tackle the problems that reduce people’s quality of life.

DOE official Denis McMahon said: “There are a range of aspects to the proposed bill which include everything from litter to vehicles dumped at the side of the road, to graffiti and fly posting and nuisance. We’re trying to streamline a lot of the processes so that councils can more quickly get the person responsible and get the cost out of them.”

His colleague Robert Gray said the new Bill would allow councils to set their own levels of fixed penalties for offences.

“We’re trying to make the legislation stronger to enable district councils to deal with the problems of fly posting. We will create by-laws that councils can choose to adopt in reference to dog fouling, the number of dogs you can walk and banning dogs from certain areas in the council area.”

New laws would allow councils to tow abandoned cars away immediately. Currently, council workers must attach a sticker and wait for a number of days, often leaving the vehicles vulnerable to arson attack.

Councils will also have the power to designate areas so that only certain companies can distribute leaflets — this would include leaflets tucked under windscreen wipers in car parks.

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