Updated: Selfish dog owners are spoiling The Edge

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 11.18.08

Dog owners are being urged to dispose of their dog's waste responsibly when visiting the The Edge rather than hang the bags in trees, or throw them in the hedges and on pathways.

Several readers have contacted alderleyedge.com to express their disgust that the lovely countryside is being spoilt by the large volume of bags being discarded at the National Trust site.

Rob Todhunter said "My wife & I enjoyed a stroll on Sunday last along the edge at Alderley Edge.

"What spoilt a lovely walk was the large number of discarded dog poo bags. I counted in excess of 20 bags, dropped everywhere, behind trees, on paths, next to gates, literally everywhere.

"I did not see any signs warning about dumping these bags, nor any specific bins, however perhaps some CCTV cameras/ signposts maybe a deterant to stop this disgusting act."

Christopher Widger, Countryside Manager Cheshire and Wirral National Trust, said "Around 300,000 people visit the National Trust property each year and we believe around 50,000 dog walks take place annually. We have good relationships with many of the regular dog-walkers at the Edge and many of them help us to look after this special place by disposing of their dog waste responsibly. However, not all our visitors take responsibility for their dog waste and this is a real problem for the team at Alderley Edge and is impacting on the experience for our visitors also.

"There are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK and there is an issue around irresponsible dog ownership, not just at National Trust sites, but in society generally. We work hard to tackle the problem at Alderly Edge by displaying signs at entrances, which were refreshed only a few weeks ago, but we find these have limited impact on tackling the problem. We have in the past considered adding bins but having to manage these would be a huge demand on our ranger and volunteer teams as the volume of dog walkers at the Edge would mean we'd need to empty the bins more than once each day, if everyone were to use them. The cost of doing this would be very high and as an independent charity, entirely unfunded by the taxpayer and supported by membership subscriptions, we should be prioritising our resources towards the conservation of our sites and the protection of these beautiful places for future generations.

"In order to tackle the problem we need dog walkers to take responsibility for their pets and dispose of their waste appropriately so we can avoid having to enforce penalties. In November 2017 Cheshire East Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which requires dog-owners to clear up after their dog in order to protect the environment from hazardous dog fouling and reduce risk to the health of residents and property. We hope that visitors continue to recognise that such behaviour is not acceptable and that ultimately, responsibility for dog waste, lies with the dog-owner."

Cheshire East Council beefed up its powers to crack down on dog fouling and dog control by introducing of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to cover all public places and fines for owners who fail to clean up after their dog.

The PSPO came into effect on November 1st 2017 and will allow the council to:

● Tackle those that fail to pick up after their dog in all public places within Cheshire East borough;
● Allow authorised officers to tell a dog owner/walker to put and keep their dog on a lead if necessary, for example, if their dog was showing aggressive behaviour; and
● Issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100. A failure to pay the FPN may lead to prosecution and a potential maximum fine of £1,000, as would more serious breaches of the PSPO.

National Trust, The Edge


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Charlie Gaughan
Tuesday 27th February 2018 at 4:52 pm
As I am a dog owner my self and keep her on a lead and pick up waste and dispose of the waste properly . I agree some people don’t they are selfish and lazy And on the edge there are no bins for any kind of waste . It would be great if we had a warden to tackle such people also on the edge it attracts people from out side the area so maybe the warden could have a scanner to check the dogs chip where it’s from maybe a bit far I don’t know . But you get lots of professional dog walkers up there with several dogs on and off leads they surely can’t be aware of every accident . As far as fine good idea but what about also fineing people who drop cigaret buts , company Branded coffee cups, wrappers, and other litter what’s good for the goose is good for the gander I spoke to our ward Counciler about asking a large pet company to sponsor dog bins with bags may not be a great answer but it could encourage people
Dave Moores
Tuesday 27th February 2018 at 6:16 pm
Cheshire East may have 'beefed-up' its powers but it does not excercise them. I have never seen a warden in Wilmslow, Alderley or Congleton. The 'black-bag' problem is getting worse.
Terry Bowes
Tuesday 27th February 2018 at 10:29 pm
It must be something in the air in Alderley. You can’t walk 20yds without finding litter or dog muck.
We often take our dog to Shakerly Mere, Astbury Mere, Tittisworth Reservoir and Leek . Pretty well spotless all of these places.
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 28th February 2018 at 7:49 am
There should be ZERO tolerance on this. The NT are well within their rights to ban dogs if folk are too lazy to deal with their own dog litter. Our own dog is dead now but Charlie if your dog is on a lead which it should be up on the Edge one is always aware when it has done it's business. It is easy to double line a carrier bag and continue on one's walk without being constrained by the smell. Leaving the bag on a hedge to "pick up later" is a total dishonesty as one does not FORGET to collect the bag each time Alternatively there must be an awful lot of dog walkers with short term memory problems ;((. And whilst I agree with your comment about other types of litter that is mere "whataboutery" I'm afraid. Other types of litter whilst antisocial or unsightly do not carry the same health risks as dog waste i.e "toxicara" which is a danger to young kids. Persistent offenders who use the Edge know about the lack of bins already and we know that they are NOT all 'out of towners' who are guilty either, it is almost as though they are indulging in some kind of "dirty protest" :( Being a dog owner entails a fair degree of responsibility and NOT entitlement. There is no excuse for this behaviour and naming and shaming plus fines and even bans may work wonders plus it gives RESPONSIBLE dog owners a bad name.
Mike Dudley-Jones
Wednesday 28th February 2018 at 9:24 am
The problem of dog waste and irresponsible dog owners in Alderley Edge is certainly getting worse. The Parish Council are exploring new ways to tackle the problem as Warning Signs are clearly being ignored by owners who feel they are 'above the law'.
Craig Browne and I have been in discussion with a company who have enjoyed success in two areas of the country and we have a meeting planned with them today, Wednesday 28th February at 1100, here in the Village.
I cannot predict the outcome yet but you may be certain we will share the information we glean as soon as possible.
What I do know from the information I have received is that the problem in Lowestoft, one of the 'trial' towns, had reached epic proportions before the solution we are about to discuss was introduced. Since introduction almost no further incidences of irresponsible dog waste activity have been reported.
We can but hope....
Charlie Gaughan
Wednesday 28th February 2018 at 7:55 pm
Tony Haluradivth Hi Tony I no longer use the edge as it’s a poorly kept place with to many people professional dog walkers with packs of dogs . Some of the toxity of dog waste changed in the 1970s as white was got rid of your right as a responsible dog owner it doesn’t hurt to carry the waste to some where to dispose of it and with antiseptic gels soap and water you can was your hands but some people may never change until we give them no choice
Tony Haluradivth
Wednesday 28th February 2018 at 8:58 pm
Mike (fingers crossed) this sounds promising. I would say anything is worth trying on this problem.
James MacDonald
Wednesday 28th February 2018 at 9:23 pm
I agree with Tony. No excuses, if you own or have responsibility for a dog then you accept certain responsibilities. Unfortunately, some people just refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and blame others. Weak, pathetic, lame.
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 1st March 2018 at 1:53 pm
I agree it is easy to spot the pro'dog walkers as they are in charge of numerous hounds all at the same time and the 'chemistry' is invariably missing that many dogs have with their owners. For those readers who use them just to give you the heads up on one young 'dog walker' with a beard who decamps with his precious charges at the Edge. He gets them out of the car in a v. chaotic manner so much so that rhe Springer Spaniel with him 2 weeks ago bounded off wumith gay abandon toward Hare Hill. Perhaps if he used 2 hands instead of one hand manipulating 4 sets of leads and one operating his iphone. I do not see him carrying a pooper scooper either.
Duncan Herald
Friday 2nd March 2018 at 10:44 am
Look at the Park in A.E. There are bins and they get well used to remove dog poo.
In addition, many dog owners will pick up 'feral' poo and bin it.
The ansa guys empty the bins twice a week.
So the Park is mainly free of dog poo.

Much mention of dog poo but no mention of the empty booze bottles and broken glass in the Park! I might mention that dog walkers tend to pick up the broken glass.

On the Edge?
Put in bins.
Those non-dog people who drop non-dog waste could use bins also?
Helen Williams
Friday 2nd March 2018 at 12:17 pm
The council or national trust must get a huge income from the carpark/dog walkers at Alderley Edge. Where does this money go ? Surely it should be used for upkeep, wardens, bins etc
Duncan Herald
Friday 2nd March 2018 at 1:44 pm
I forgot to mention that of course dog-poo is biodegradable; bottles, glass, cigarette packets, food containers etc. are not.
Alan Brough
Friday 2nd March 2018 at 4:26 pm

You make a good point and one that is vexing environmentalists considerably.

Dog poo will bio-degrade in about two weeks. Pick it up and wrap it in a plastic bag and (depending on what sort of bag it is) it can take up to two thousand years to break down.

Bagging dog poo and putting it in a bin is okay, and certainly better than bagging dog poo and hanging it in a bush or a tree (???) but it is just shifting the problem somewhere else as it is really the plastic bag that's the longer term problem.

Waste (that cant be recycled) will either go into landfill or it will go for incineration (power generation) - either way the plastic is at least as much a villain as the poo.

Having said all of this, as a responsible dog owner / irresponsible environmentalist, I would always collect after my dog, but I would like a better all-round solution than is currently available.
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 6:05 am
Like I said zero tolerance for dog mess. Those of you above who still seem to be trying to justify it's presence decorating the Edge by saying it is biodegradeable and almost 'eco' in nature? Pathetic.... there is still NO excuse for this antisocial behaviour. There is/are persisistent offenders who allow their dogs to foul an area of pavement by the allotments on Heyes Lane. Can I just point out that it is no joke trying to clean a 4 year olds shoes effectively before school. And it has to be done thoroughly as 4 year olds sit on the floor at school and touch their shoes, feet, then hands in mouth etc etc. The Edge, as remarked in the article is looking disgusting and many of you complain about the bags (some of which are biodegradeable) and should be taken away and YES your dog mess is better in Landfill than smeared all over the Edge to destroy the pleasure for ALL walkers. Like I said some dog owners have an enhanced sense of entitlement ;((
Duncan Herald
Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 10:22 am
many of us dog-owners now go to the trouble of using bio-degradable poo-bags.
What are your thoughts on the poo left on the Edge by the parents of yound children? I do not complain about that, 'cos when a young child has to go, s/he has to go! Not all parents can/bother to pick it up. To me, that's just part of the tolerance that most people show.
So what do you suggert? ban dogs? Ban kids?
Jon Williams
Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 12:37 pm
I have just got back from a 1 hour walk with my two dogs, used a poo bag on Brook Lane, I had to carry it all the way along the by pass and back to the bin near Eaton Drive, no problem for me as an ex - Dog Warden, but some dog owners would not do that, so more bins please.
Also it's not just dogs that poo on footpath, plenty of other animals and birds do as well.
Tony Haluradivth
Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 4:12 pm
Yes entitlement as I said from a couple of 'superior' dog owners above. Duncan your straw "dog" ;) argument almost defending the errant dog owners by comparing the amount of kids poo up on the Edge (do you hate young children & prefer dogs btw? I like both, and my comment related to my grandson who I often walk to school). This I suspect is an extremely rare occurence and is pathetic justification. By NOT condemning the dog litterers I would hate to think that you are part of the offending group! Dogs
unlike kids cannot use nappies or toilets and invariably need to go as soon as they are out on a walk. Jon as a former dog warden I find your excuses more mystifying....Regular dog walkers know already about the lack of bins on the Edge so as I say if they are leaving dog muck around in bags because they resent carrying it (you cannot use the "forgetful" excuse each time!) and ARE (one can only assume) indulging in some kind of dirty protest. Those dog owners who don't like carrying the waste back as you did could easily double line a carrier bag if they don't like it , and they should not own a dog if they are not prepared to take responsibility. And very few other animals leave large offensive clods on footpaths (and you know this well enough!) Comparing what a Great Dane, Mastiff or Alsation may leave as a reminder of their 'walkies' to what a Robin, mouse or pigeon deposits is all pathetic. Further these are wild animals out of our control. Dogs are pets and if they weren't there would be no chance that large packs of wild feral dogs would be roaming our streets unabated.
Fiona Doorbar
Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 5:26 pm
More bins would have a positive effect up on the edge. Move one or two bins off the high street and reposition maybe? (There are 5 or 6 along a stretch of road of 200metres or so!)....just a suggestion!....
Mike Dudley-Jones
Sunday 4th March 2018 at 10:07 am
I promised to share with everyone the information Craig Browne and I gleaned from our meeting held on Wednesday 28th February 2018 and I am sure that there will be a variety of comments!

Prior to our meeting this subject received some considerable attention at our Parish Council regular Informal Meeting on Monday 26th February and with only the brief understanding we had at that time not all were necessarily in total support.

Craig and I had an interesting meeting with an innovative Company, born out of a group of environmental chemists, who are at the forefront in the UK of successfully tackling the growing problem of dog fouling linked to irresponsible anti - social behaviour. This is a problem faced by communities throughout the world. It came as no surprise that much of the progress that has been achieved stems from research carried out in the United States and Canada, whilst the introduction in this country is still at the very early stages.

The first thing we should all be mindful of is that if solving this growing problem was easy - every Town and Village would have done so by now! As we know only too well in Alderley Edge notices and signs with eyeballs 'watching you' seem to have little effect and something more radical is needed.

It is important to remember that Dog Licencing was abolished in the UK over thirty years ago and despite growing dog theft and the organised theft of farm animals only micro chipping has been used to help owners protect their pets and animals. Organised thieves can identify these chips and remove them with ease. However, over this period, advances in DNA technology have been huge and it is in this area that a solution might lie.

The mechanics and economics of the Sheme we discussed on Wednesday followed successful implementations in other parts of the country and would need to be along these lines:

1. Alderley Edge Park and Chorley Hall Lane Playing Fields and the path that joins the two areas next to the Allotments would need to become designated and signposted as Areas with a Public Space Protection Order placed on them by Cheshire East Council.

2. Dog walkers seeking to use these areas to walk their dogs would be required to demonstrate that their dog has been registered on the Alderley Edge DNA database at a cost of around £20.00. Registering is a simple mouth swab sample sent to the database. Registered dogs would be identified by a small, numbered fluorescent tag. Given that there is no other registration of dogs required by law (yet) since the old Dog Licence disappeared in 1987 the advantages of having a dog DNA registered go beyond just anti fouling as registered pets can then be traced if stolen especially when presented at Veterinary Practices, after such a theft. The £20.00 (approx) is a one off charge not an annual licence fee.

3. Dog mess found in PSPO areas (a very small sample) can be sent for analysis and if the dog is on the database the identity of the owners can be immediately provided - and they can then receive a written warning. A repeat occurrence would lead to a Cheshire East fine of around £1000.00 with the DNA evidence ensuring that no excuses would be accepted. Clearly, most dog owners who are prepared to register for the Scheme, would also be the owners most likely to 'pick up' so perhaps no great advantage so far. Read on...

4. If, however, the dog is not registered the sample analysis process can still accurately identify dog breed, size, sex and if taken to conclusion even the eye colour can be identified! This might only be used for persistent abuse but it acts as a significant deterrent to those who might feel they can walk where they like, often early in the morning before work - and break the rules laid down so long as nobody sees them! This 'fear' of being caught by the evidence left by the offending dog, not because the offender was seen, seems to play a significant role in the success of the Scheme.

We will continue our research and discussions running a comprehensive feature in our May Parish Update (early May). The Scheme Company have agreed to run a registration stand/marquee at the May Fair in mid May. We want to hold discussions with Cheshire East to seek out further support from them and whether or not some funding could be made available to assist those who are prepared to become the 'pioneers' in our Village, especially as success in Alderley could then be rolled out across Cheshire East.

I need to say again that my understanding is that once key areas are removed from the Morning and Evening dog walk for owners who refuse to register because they are now designated PSPO there is a rapid change of heart and fear sets in as the potential abuser realises they no longer have to be 'spotted' breaking the rules. The dog mess they decide to leave will be what convicts them!

Is the pursuit of this Scheme so ridiculous? I am not sure that it is.
Government legislation and discussion of registration surrounding dog and other animal ownership is coming back because DNA advances are so effective. It might be useful to help Cheshire East and our residents to join other success stories in the UK who are already leading the way?

Your thoughts would be useful to me as we seek to make our Village a better place to live. But please don't shoot the messenger if you find this all too much!

Mike DJ
Alan Brough
Sunday 4th March 2018 at 1:54 pm
Mike DJ

I think the idea has merit, though I do have some misgivings around the fact that it will be the responsible majority who "sign up" whilst the irresponsible minority will continue to be the problem. Effectively, why should I pay £20 for the "privilege" of continuing to clear up after my dog?

Once CE Council have designated the PSPO areas, who's going to police them? Are we really going to see wardens going around taking samples of dog poo for laboratory analysis, and then, in the absence of an Identifiable owner, will we see "Wanted" posters stapled to trees showing pictures of (say) a brindle boxer with green eyes?

And as Duncan quite reasonably points out, there are other "littering" problems in the park which this scheme would not address - human excrement - drug paraphernalia - vandalism - general litter. Currently, Police, PCSO's have powers to deal with this but don't due to lack of resources. This scheme could only succeed based on resources provided by responsible dog owners - nothing necessarily wrong with that but it's not without some irony.

I followed your clue earlier in the thread and saw that a similar scheme has been operating very successfully in Lowestoft, Suffolk. However, it seems that there the area designated is a marina complex and I wonder if this works because there is a "closed shop" community interest.

Whatever, I applaud you and Craig for thinking outside the box and bringing these ideas forward and I will happily support anything that reduces litter (in all its forms) in the village.
Mike Dudley-Jones
Sunday 4th March 2018 at 4:04 pm

Thank you for your comments and, as always, they are thought provoking! 'Policing' is always going to be a problem with the lack of resources available, I agree.

But I wondered if those dog owners who do sign up to the Scheme could not play a more active role in all this by simply politely asking walkers with dogs not showing a fluorescent disc why they have chosen not to be part of the Scheme. It should be an 'easier' question to ask than 'was that your dog that just left a significant deposit in the middle of the bowling green?'.

Collecting samples from deposits made by persistent offending dogs is relatively simple for anyone to do - and would not involve the considerable stomach churning experience that picking up all of another dog's deposit usually is! Part of the magic of the DNA process is the tiny amount the laboratory needs to complete their analysis.

And finally, for the moment, I really do believe that 'Naming and Shaming' of dogs by breed, sex, size and eye colour(!) is more acceptable than actually naming the owner (which for an un-registered dog would be difficult).
Fear of being caught out for such an unacceptable habit might be just enough to change the way irresponsible dog walkers behave.

Your research into Lowestoft Marina is correct; much easier to do in a controlled privately owned area but you may have also read about the success in the parks in Barking (yes, really!) and Dagenham and some London Parks where the situation has improved by over 60%.
I wouldn't settle for that - but it is a lot better than what we are experiencing here at the moment which is more akin to an increase of 60%!

Subject to the final registration cost being decided there is the possibility of a cash return allocated from the Scheme to fund special dog poo bins developed in Sweden where the lid and deposit process does not require the depositor to touch the bin, as it has been suggested that this is one reason why some dog owners don't like to pick up as they are worried about their own hygiene and infection issues! But they have a dog!!!
These special bins have special bio degradeable poo bag dispensers as part of their design which addresses your earlier worries - and a small Perspex screen above the bin perfect for 'naming and shaming'!

Thank you for your support. We are hoping to demonstrate it all at the May Show. We can but try.

Mike DJ
David Hoult
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 11:02 am
We stopped off at the Edge the other day - first time for many years, as we no longer live in the area. We gave our springer spaniel a good run on the Edge, and in due course returned to the car park carrying our little bag of dog poo. However, there was nowhere to leave it - not a single waste bin in the entIre big car park (the one by the Wizard).

A close look at the stern warning signs about dog poo revealed that visitors are required to take it home! Well, we dutifully put the bag in the car, but I have to say that is the last time we will ever do that - the stink in such an enclosed space was overwhelming!

If the National Trust wants to enforce strict dog laws on the Edge then they should install waste bins like everyone else does. It costs £4 to park in that car park, so they can certainly
afford it. Expecting people to carry dog poo away in their cars is completely unreasonable. We will not be visiting again!