Burnham-On-Sea could soon become one of the first towns in the UK to tackle dog fouling with a new high-tech scheme.
The leader of GeoVation, a project run in conjunction with the Ordnance Survey, has this week put forward a proposal to the Town Council which could combat the problem.
The scheme would see the introduction of a smartphone app informing dog owners where waste bins are sited in the town and would also introduce an anaerobic digestion system to turn dog waste into renewable energy in the form of methane gas.
“Dog fouling is a major issue for many towns – it is the most offensive type of litter and is consistently raised as a big public concern,” the project’s leader Gary Downie, pictured, told town councillors on Monday (June 2nd).
“But the problem is not caused simply by irresponsible dog owners – it’s actually more complex than that. One in four dog owners don’t pick up their pet’s waste because dog waste bin locations are not known or because they are not accessible.”
“We therefore propose to introduce a solution to prevent the problem happening in the first place using Ordnance Survey maps to plot the locations of dog waste bins.”
“Using our phone app, incidents of dog fouling can also be photographed and reported.”
“The waste would also be collected and taken to an anaerobic digester, where it will create methane to provide energy.”
He added that this in turn can offset the cost to tax payers associated with dog waste collection and cleaning. The Town Council currently pays over £25,000 a year for dog bin cleaning.
Mayor Martin Cox welcomed the idea, saying: “Any initiative in addressing this problem is very welcome indeed.”
Cllr Ken Smout added: “Dog fouling is such as an emotive subject and I feel that these proposals deserve more time to be thought through and examined.”
The proposal will be further considered at the council’s next Policy and Finance Committee meeting later in June.
Burnham would become one of just four locations across the UK using the scheme if it were to go ahead. The other locations are in Aberdeen, Suffolk and Kingston upon Thames.
The GeoVation project team is seeking 25% of the cost of launching the scheme in Burnham, although no specific figure was given.
Earlier this year, Town Council plans to lift a dog ban on part of Burnham’s beach during the summer months was scrapped after public opposition, as first reported here.