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Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Public Spaces Protection Orders, known as PSPOs are powers that are available to us to deal with persistent and unreasonable nuisances and anti-social behaviour that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life for the local community in a particular area.

They intend to help ensure that the public can use and enjoy public spaces and can help to make West Northamptonshire a better and safer place to live, work and enjoy.

New Public Spaces Protection Order - Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking in specific public places

West Northants Cabinet have approved the introduction of a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to promote responsible dog ownership and prohibit smoking in certain public spaces across the Daventry and South areas of West Northamptonshire.

The Order will come into effect from 1 November 2022 for a period of 3 years.

The requirements and restrictions of the new Order are summarised as follows:

  • Anyone who is in control of a dog in a public place must:
    • Pick up after the dog immediately
    • Have the appropriate means to pick up after that dog
    • Prohibit dogs from entering the following: children’s play areas; schools when open and in use by pupils; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens
    • Keep the dog on a lead when in: Cemeteries; burial sites; graveyards; memorial gardens; allotments; car parks; sports grounds, fields and pitches, when in use for authorised sporting activity; land near the café area at Daventry Country Park and near schools when open and in use by pupils
    • Put the dog on a lead when requested to do so by an Authorised person
    • Restrict the number of dogs that can be walked by one person to a maximum of 4 dogs at any one time

In addition

  • smoking of tobacco, tobacco related products, smokeless tobacco products including electronic cigarettes, herbal cigarettes or any illegal substances is prohibited in the following areas: Children’s play areas; schools when open and in use by pupils; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens.

A £100 fixed penalty notice (FPN) may be issued if you fail to comply with any of the requirements or restrictions contained within the PSPO

View the new Daventry and South PSPO (Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places) 2022

View the PSPO Cabinet decision

The PSPO Order can be seen at item 83 on the Agenda for the Cabinet on Tuesday 11 October 2022.

Contact details

Email address: [email protected]
Telephone: 01327 302260

Frequently Asked Questions

The PSPO aims to help ensure that all dog owners behave responsibly in areas that are enjoyed by many other users. It outlines requirements and restrictions to encourage responsible dog ownership and to ensure that shared spaces are usable and accessible for all of West Northamptonshire’s residents.

By prohibiting smoking in specific open spaces, it’s intended to help reduce littering of cigarettes and associated items in these areas, will help keep open spaces safer, cleaner and greener for all. It’s also intended to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and make smoking less visible to children. The specified areas where smoking is prohibited - Children’s play areas; schools; skateparks; tennis courts; multi-use games areas (MUGAs) and bowling greens are all public places for residents to go to maintain and enjoy a healthy lifestyle which can be supported with the banning of smoking in these areas.

A Public Space Protection Order, also known as a PSPO, is a power available under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. PSPOs can be used to protect the public from behaviour that is likely to have a harmful effect on the quality of life in the locality and is persistent and unreasonable or is likely to be.

An Order can be used to control certain activities in a specified area if two conditions are met:

  • that the activities have had, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on those in the locality
  • that the effect is, or is likely to be, persistent and continuing nature and is or is likely to be such as to make those activities unreasonable and that restrictions are justified.

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) replaced Gating Orders, Dog Control Orders and Designated Public Place Orders and can be used to control behaviours which are having, or are likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.

Behaviours which can be controlled through restrictions or positive requirements within a PSPO can include:

  • Controlling access over public land
  • The consumption of alcohol
  • Dogs roaming freely and/or fouling
  • Storage of household items or waste
  • Storage of wheelie bins
  • Aggressive behaviours linked to begging, street peddling or preaching

The above list is not exhaustive and restrictions or positive requirements will depend on the nature of the issue the PSPO is imposed to deal with.

It’s intended that this PSPO will encourage responsible dog ownership and discourage smoking and associated littering in specific open spaces. In turn, this will help make West Northamptonshire an even cleaner, greener, healthier and safer place in which to play, live, work or visit by:

  • Reducing the number of dog fouling incidents across the area
  • Reducing the number of dogs allowed to stray or be out of control and cause nuisance to people or other animals
  • Prevent incidents to enable powers to request dogs are placed on leads when directed to do so by an authorised officer
  • Making specific open spaces such as play areas, skate parks and MUGAs safer and welcoming for children to enjoy
  • Improving the local community, environment, health and wellbeing for all
  • Making smoking less visible to children and reduce the amount of smoking associated litter in specific areas

An “Authorised Person” means an employee of the Council, or any employee of a partnership agency or contractor. This includes Kingdom LA Support and Northamptonshire Police Constables.

Where a person breaches the PSPO, an authorised person will have a number of options open to them and will exercise discretion in how they handle any situation. Depending on the nature of the breach, the authorised officer can issue a verbal warning and require immediate cessation of the behaviour causing the breach of the PSPO.

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100 may be issued if any of the PSPO conditions are breached. There is no discount for early or prompt payment. Failure to pay may lead to prosecution. Any enforcement action will be taken in line with the WNC Enforcement policy.

Prosecution might be appropriate for repeat offenders, or if the offence is so serious that it merits prosecution. For example: a dog owner that allows their dog to be dangerously out of control, despite being directed by an officer to put it on a lead, may risk prosecution, rather than being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice. Failure to pay the Fixed Penalty Notice may also result in prosecution.

Any enforcement action will be taken in line with the WNC Enforcement policy.

The PSPO states that “any person who is in control of the dog at the time must remove the faeces from the land forthwith”

Land to which this Order applies includes all open space in the administrative area of the Council to which the public have access. This includes all roads, footpaths, pavements, alleyways and grass verges maintained at public expense as well as any bridleway or other public right of way over privately owned land and all parks and open spaces, including commons, grounds and wooded areas, owned, operated, managed or maintained by the Council or any Parish, Town or Community Council.

You must have the appropriate means to pick up dog faeces deposited by your dog. It is recommended that you take out several bags with you so that if your dog decides to go to the toilet more than once, you are not without a bag.

Dispose of the bag correctly in either a dog waste or litter bin, or take it home and place it, suitably wrapped, in your own waste bin. Do not dump the bag in a hedge or hang it from a branch, this is littering. Littering is also an offence and you can receive a fine of £150.

Dog poo can be bagged and placed in any normal public bin – it does not have to go in a dog poo bin. If there are no bins available it can be taken home and put into a dustbin.

Requiring dogs to be kept on leads in designated areas is likely to reduce the risk of dog fouling occurring and ensures dog walkers keep their dogs under control for the safety of yourself, your dog and the safety of others.

If an authorised officer considers a dog, or dogs, to be out of control, or causing alarm or stress, the owner of a dog will be instructed to put and keep a dog on a lead.

Health

The exclusion of dogs from these sites is important in ensuring the health of users of these areas to ensure they remain a safe and welcoming environment.

Dog fouling can cause blindness from the disease toxocariasis, which is spread from animals to humans through infected dog foul.

Users of these areas should be able to enjoy them without the fear of treading in or coming into contact with dog faeces.

Safety

Users of these areas should be able to enjoy them without concern caused by dogs that may be out of control which could cause alarm, distress or injury.

Four dogs is the maximum amount of dogs that can be walked at any one time. This rule applies to all - dog walkers, pet owners and members of the public.

In most areas there will be signage to tell you when your dog must be on a lead. However, it is your responsibility to put your dog on a lead at these locations whether signage exists or not. The Council will provide lots of information and communications regarding the requirements. There is no defence for being ignorant of the requirements.

Most dogs love being off the lead and in many circumstances – so long as your dog is safe and under control – that is absolutely fine. However, if an authorised officer has formed the opinion that a dog is causing danger or serious nuisance to other persons, their dogs, a bird or other animals the owner will be ordered to bring it under control on a lead.

Nothing applies to a person who is registered as a blind person on a register compiled under section 29 or the National Assistance Act 1948; or is deaf, in respect of a dog trained by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (register charity number 293358) and upon which the person relies for assistance; or has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to carry out common day-to-day activities in respect of a dog trained by any current or future members of Assistance Dogs UK, or any other charity registered in the UK with a purpose of training assistance dogs and upon which the person relies for assistance. Has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and in the reasonable opinion of the Council that person relies upon the assistance of the dog in connection with their disability.

The new Dog Control and Prohibition of Smoking PSPO will be supported by a communications campaign and signage to make those who live, work and enjoy the open spaces aware of the requirements of the Order. The Order comes into force 1 November 2022 and will remain in place for a period of three years. 

Yes, many other local government authorities have already implemented PSPOs for dog control, including neighbouring councils North Northamptonshire Council, Bedford Borough Council and Rugby Borough Council.

Yes, we will let people know about the PSPO through a range of communications including:

  • information available on West Northamptonshire Council’s website
  • a notice displayed in libraries or other Council buildings
  • press releases will be issued to the media
  • information will be published on West Northamptonshire Council’s social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter
  • signage will be placed on street lighting columns and in area where the PSPO will impact including play areas, bowling greens, cemeteries etc.
  • information will be included in the new West Northamptonshire Council residents e-newsletter, Members and Parish briefing
  • Parish and Town Councils will be asked to share information with residents, clubs and organisations in their area

PSPOs can be challenged under S66 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 on the grounds that the local authority did not have the power either to make the Order or include particular prohibitions or requirements, or that proper processes had not been followed as prescribed by the legislation. Challenges must be made to the High Court within six weeks of the Order being made, and by an individual who lives in, regularly works in or visits the restricted area.

Please get in touch explaining your query: either by email to  [email protected] quoting ‘Public Space Protection Order for dog control and prohibition of smoking’ in the subject line or call 0300 126 7000 during office hours – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Four dogs is the maximum amount of dogs that can be walked at any one time. This rule applies to all - dog walkers, pet owners and members of the public.

More than four dogs can be walked on private land with permission from the landowner and at dog parks and secure dog walking fields across the area.

Last updated 15 November 2022