St Albans MP set to appear on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show today to discuss dog poo issue

PUBLISHED: 11:52 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 14 March 2017

St Albans MP Anne Main in the House of Commons.

St Albans MP Anne Main in the House of Commons.

Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has hit national news headlines after she encouraged dog walkers to flick their pet’s poo into natural undergrowth using a stick.

Mrs Main highlighted the issue after she received complaints from constituents about unslightly dog poo bags left hanging on trees in St Albans’s Heartwood Forest, and wanted to encourage people to use a ‘stick and flick’ method coined by Forestry Commission England.

Rather than taking the poo bags home, or leave them hanging on trees, it asks people to use a stick to move the poo into bushes where it can rot.

She said it was a nationwide issue and wanted a pragmatic approach: “We need to discuss some kind of country code which says that it is not acceptable to simply bag it up and throw in on a tree, or in someone’s garden, or to hang it on fences.

“I am very aware that dog excrement can carry diseases, and the concerns that farmers have for their livestock, but we need to have a common-sense approach that educates dog-walkers.”

Poo bag hanging from a tree in Bricket Wood Common Poo bag hanging from a tree in Bricket Wood Common

Anne Main will appear on the Jeremy Vine radio show today (March 14) at 1.30pm to talk about the problem, and it will be debated in Parliament at 4.30pm.

The landowner of Bricket Wood Common, Henry Holland-Hibbert, was recently featured in the Herts Ad asking dog walkers to stop hanging bags on trees.

Mr Holland-Hibbert said that the stick and flick method might be good in large areas, like the North York Moors, but is not the best solution for a small park like his - it is the lesser of two evils.

He added: “The problem we have is we have a very large number of dogs per acre, and it’s the worst feeling when your pram wheel or your shoe squelches in dog poo, nothing compares to it.

A sign put up by Harpenden Town Council A sign put up by Harpenden Town Council

“The only real thing to do is what you are meant to do by law, which is pick it up and take it home - but I would prefer stick and flick than this ghastly business of leaving it for people to collect.”

He described the thought process behind leaving bags hung on branches as “abhorrent”, and akin to fly-tipping.

Harpenden Town Council has tried to also address this problem, by installing four new bins in problem areas – on Hatching Green, Cross Lane, Prospect Lane, and in The Three Horseshoes car park.

It also had to put up a reminder sign that the bins should not be filled with horse manure, potentially forcing others to litter.

This followed an incident about three months ago when a member of the public filled whole plastic bags with equine poo, but there have been no more problems and contractors will soon be taking the sign down.

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