A weeklong litter initiative was organised by the Corporate Enforcement Unit (CEU) to run alongside the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign Clean up Scotland.
The initiative focused upon our beautiful green spaces, including parks, trails and cycle paths, and our schools. Over the course of the week the CEU carried out high visibility bike patrols, foot patrols and covert car patrols with colleagues from the Council, Police Scotland and Fresh Air-shire, NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s smoking cessation programme.
While enforcement did take place during the week, the focus was on reducing the impact of environmental crime by making our communities understand the responsibility we all share to keep our communities beautiful and litter free.
Throughout the week the team visited every park in the area; including Dean Castle Country Park and Dumfries House where they carried out joint patrols, spoke to dog walkers and handed out free dog waste bags.
The schools were targeted at lunchtime with the Campus cops from Grange Academy, St Joseph’s Academy and Loudoun Academy joining the CEU on lunchtime patrols. The team walked the route most regularly used by pupils and spoke to pupils about not dropping litter.
Loch Doon was another focus for the team. Their high visibility patrols have made a huge difference in recent years with environmental crime falling considerably in this area. The team spoke to visitors to the Loch and gave free dog waste bags to the Roundhouse Cafe to be distributed to dog walkers.
Councillor Tom Cook, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Equalities said: “The CEU visited every town in East Ayrshire during their weeklong initiative. They focused on the most common environmental issues like littering, fly tipping and dog fouling but also took the time to patrol our schools and beautiful green spaces.
“The aim of the week was not enforcement but education. It is important that people understand the aims of the Council and our partners. Ideally we don’t want to be issuing fixed penalty notices; we want people to just pick up after themselves, and their dogs, without the fear of an £80 fine. However until we reach that goal, we will continue to educate, advise and when we have to, carry out enforcement activity.
As part of the initiative the CEU and a Fresh Air-shire Officer attended University Hospital Crosshouse during afternoon visiting to talk to visitors and patients about the enforcement of the smoking policy within the hospital grounds.
Dr Carol Davidson, Director of Public Health for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said: “We were delighted to welcome East Ayrshire Council’s Corporate Enforcement Unit to University Hospital Crosshouse. One of the most complained about issues relates to people who continue to contravene our Smoke-free Grounds Policy by smoking at entrances to our hospitals. The last thing our patients and relatives want to experience when they come to our healthcare premises is walking through clouds of smoke and discarded cigarette ends. By working with our partners in the CEU, we were able to emphasise again the importance of people leaving our grounds to smoke.”