Monday, July 13, 2020

A problem you can’t ignore

The Woodland Trust tries tackling a commonplace problem in an unusual way.

Londonthorpe Wood in Lincolnshire is just one of the many Woodland Trust woods that suffer from a high level of dog fouling, and the problem has become so bad that site managers have decided to take a different approach to the problem.

The Trust has spray painted dog mess at Londonthorpe Wood in the hope that dog owners will see the level of dog fouling and be encouraged to clean up their pets’ poo. The decision was made after it became clear that the 153 acre wood, a wonderful mixture of new trees and wild flower meadows, was being spoiled by the amount of dog waste.

As summer is approaching and families will want to enjoy the woodland during the warmer weather, it is vital that woods are accessible and clean for everyone to enjoy. Dog poo can pose as a health and safety risk to children, and may ruin the appeal of the woods.

Spray painting the poo in bright, fluorescent colours shows how much is actually present, and may remind owners to dispose of their dog’s waste responsibly. Some local dog walkers have generously helped fund an on-site bin and even empty it themselves. However, the cost of installing other bins would cost the Trust £90 each time it was emptied. This would prove very costly, and so the Trust must rely on the public to use the one bin provided or take the dog waste away with them.

Ian Froggatt, site manager for the Woodland Trust, says: “Londonthorpe wood is a wonderful place for families to enjoy, but there are countless piles of poo left in the wood and leaving dog waste is spoiling the wood. Health and safety is a major concern as parasites such as roundworm is are commonly found in dog waste and can remain infectious in contaminated soil for years. This is a real concern when inviting young children to the wood.

“Of course, we are very happy to see so many dog walkers enjoy woodland, and we are keen to work with dog owners to promote a code of conduct when visiting the site – tackling dog fouling is just one part of this.”

Over the coming weeks the Trust is hoping to re-visit the site to spray poo again. This will show whether its message is getting through to local dog walkers and the level of waste left is reduced.

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