Children walking to and from a school in Fitzrovia want Camden and Westminster council’s to do more to clean up the streets and pavements around the school. And they’ve produced some colourful posters to help the councils educate the public and prevent dog fouling and littering.
Every weekday morning children say they have to be careful where they step to avoid bringing dog poo into the classrooms. And according to the children who spoke to Fitzrovia News, the worst streets are right next to the school.
“Children walk to and from school from Camden and Westminster and we have a huge problem with litter and dog-mess in the area,” says Rebecca Carrigan, co-chair of All Souls’ Primary School Parents and Teachers Association (PTA).
All Souls Primary School is on Foley Street and Riding House Street and on the border of Camden and Westminster. In October last year parents complained to the councils to get something done to ensure dog owners clean up after their pets and put dog poo into bins. Sometimes poo gets bagged but is not binned and left on the street.
But little action was taken and by February this year the children, parents and teachers had had enough and decided to campaign in an imaginative way.
“For our recent half-term break, the Headmistress Alix Ascough set an all-school homework to design anti-litter and anti-dog poo posters,” says Carrigan. “We had a wonderful selection of artwork and as a result we chose a winner and two runners-up from each year, with one overall winner.”
The PTA want the two councils to use the children’s posters to urge the public to be more responsible and help make our streets cleaner and safer.
“We really want to use these lovely, colourful posters to help promote awareness and to encourage dog-owners and litterers to take more care in our community.
“We are urging the two councils to place litter bins and dog bins around the area,” she says.
Fitzrovia News asked both Camden and Westminster councils to respond to the PTA and children’s campaign. Both councils responded positively and are willing to embrace the campaign, but stressed they are already taking action on dog fouling.
Camden council told Fitzrovia News the children’s poster campaign was a good idea.
Councillor Sally Gimson, cabinet member for sustainability and environment said: “We would love to see the children’s artwork to investigate how it could be used in future campaigns to help us tackle this issue. We would like to think that their work will persuade irresponsible dog owners to pick up after their dogs.”
Camden is currently running a campaign to raise the awareness of dog fouling.
“One of the ways we are helping residents to combat the problem is offering cans of pink chalk spray so they can warn passers-by and highlight the dog mess until our street cleansing team is next the area to pick it up. We hope that community action like this and more enforcement can together get dog owners to clean up after their pets,” says Cllr Gimson.
Camden says it does take action against people who fail to clean up after their dogs, but catching dogs and owners in the act is necessary to take enforcement action.
“Catching irresponsible dog owners has proved difficult, as to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) a council officer is required to witness the offence taking place.
“Camden Council takes an education and enforcement approach to tackling the issue by raising awareness through campaigns, talking to dog owners, and issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to those caught not cleaning up after their dogs.
“Our residents tell us that they really dislike dog mess not being cleared up by dog owners and we are cracking down on this anti-social behaviour which is unpleasant for everyone and costs us money to clean up,” she said.
Cans of pink spray are available from Camden Council by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Westminster City Council spokesperson told Fitzrovia News that they would talk to the school about displaying the posters.
“We are happy to work with the school to discuss their ideas and display the children’s artwork in the appropriate areas.
“We commend the enthusiasm and interest shown by the primary school students in regard to keeping our streets cleaner and safer.
“Westminster City Council has just completed an 18-month campaign to promote responsible dog ownership and tackle dog fouling. We have installed some 800 signs and distributed 5000 good tips leaflets, and 40,000 doggy bags, which can now be collected free from estate offices and libraries.
“We welcome anyone who wants to get involved and raise awareness of this issue in their local community. We believe working with schools is an important step in bridging the gap with dog owners and their responsibilities,” said the spokesperson.