Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by the Interim Head of Highways, & Environmental Services (copy enclosed) which provides information and seeks members’ observations regarding the current status and the proposed future direction of environmental enforcement services across the county.


10.10am – 10.45am




Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, Councillor Barry Mellor, introduced the report (previously circulated) alongside the Interim Head of Highways and Environmental Service and the Interim Waste and Recycling Manager. The report provided members with an update on the progress of this outsourced arrangement at the end of the contract period and detailed proposed future arrangements for the continued delivery of these services across the Denbighshire area, highlighting the risks to this outsourced arrangement and how those risks were being managed.  The Lead Member explained that whilst the decision to award the contract could have been taken by the Head of Highways and Environmental Service, under powers delegated to him, both the Head of Service and Lead Member were keen to seek members’ views on the contract specification, in particular the proposed amendments to the contract.


The service provider delivered Environmental Enforcement officer patrols county-wide (publically accessed land) to raise awareness and issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for low-level environmental crime offences. Most offences related to littering and contraventions of Denbighshire’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Dog Control. They also issued FPNs for other environmental violations, including fly posting and graffiti and the enforcement of smoke-free legislation. The service provider was also responsible for a range of back-office support in relation to Fixed Penalties, including managing payment rates and preparing case files for potential prosecutions (for non-payment of FPNs and walk-offs.) They were also required to be the first point of contact for complaints and representations from the public.


The Committee was informed of the contract variations, which were –


Three Variations to the 2019 contract specification, these had come into force on 10th October 2022:

(i)    To extend the current contract for 24 months (Substantial Variation) to 9th October 2024.

(ii)  To extend the scope of the contract by including two additional areas of environmental enforcement – initially through two six-month pilots. (Not considered a substantial variation);

(iii) The inclusion of a “termination for convenience” clause, enabling the contractor to terminate the contract with 12 weeks’ notice should the contract fail to be commercially viable for them. (Not considered a substantial variation)


Members discussed the following in further detail –


·         Concerns were raised regarding the low number of patrols recorded for the county’s more rural areas, i.e. the Dee Valley, Denbigh and Ruthin areas, as some members felt that the patrols currently focused on tourist areas. The Committee felt that there needed to be a whole Denbighshire approach to the new contract. Officers confirmed that this matter had been identified and was currently being part of an on-going discussion between the Council and the company.

·         The Committee had concerns relating to the cost and profit margins for the company for delivering the service, Members were worried that this could push the company to go to sources of profit rather than dealing with the issues that concerned residents, littering and dog fouling. The officers clarified that the proposal to raise the fine levels with regards to dog fouling offences would hopefully deter such offences and reduce the levels of such offences in future.  Dog fouling was regarded by the general public as a crime against people and communities therefore it was important that fines were set at a level to help deter reoffending whilst also educating persistent offenders of the impact of the crime.  The Committee agreed that educating people was vital, and a good working relationship with the Communications Teams would be vital to tackling the issue effectively.

·         Members referred to the possibility of some people evading being caught and fined as they walked their dogs during unsociable hours when no officers would be present. Officers clarified that they had no direct control over where and when the enforcement would occur, but discussions were underway with the service provider seeking it adapt its working hours to run from 7am to 7pm on a daily basis.

·         The availability of sufficient number of bins was raised, and whether there was any method of having additional bins in rural areas. Officers advised that they used C360 enquires and complaints to determine if new or additional bins were required in certain areas.

·         outdated signage was raised and needed to refresh signage across the county.  Officers stated the matter was currently being reviewed, and Caru Cymru (previously Keep Wales Tidy) was being be looked at as a potential funding source for new signage.

·         Regarding legal fees entailed with prosecuting offenders for non-payment of FPNs, members were advised that the Council would recover all costs via the magistrates’ court system.

·         It was confirmed that the Council’s own Environmental Enforcement officers dealt with fly-tipping incidents, the proposal in this particular contract was for the company (District Enforcement) to complement the work of the Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team by undertaking duties such as checking that businesses are in possession of the required licences and had arrangements in place to legally get rid of their waste. 

·         Councillor Martyn Hogg advised that he was in agreement with the proposed contract and its variations, but it would be imperative that its delivery was closely monitored and that essential data should be available to highlight the business’ success.



Following an in-depth discussion, the Committee:


Resolved: - having considered the information within the report, to support the proposed contract variation extending the current outsourced arrangement with District Enforcement to 9th October 2024, and subject to the observations made during the course of the discussion:


(i)   to endorse the Delegated Decision Report ‘Review of Denbighshire Council’s Fixed Penalty Notice Fine Amounts for Environmental Crime Offences’ so that the Council may continue to deliver environmental enforcement patrols through a cost neutral arrangement (as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report); and

(ii)  recommend that a communications plan be drawn up and instigated with a view to ensuring that the county’s residents, businesses and all city, town and community councils are informed of the proposed changes prior to their implementation.



Supporting documents: