Dog lovers counting the cost of foul play

Dog owners in East Lothian rather than local taxpayers will have to pay for council dog waste bags from April 1.

East Lothian Council has decided to introduce a charging policy for the bags, currently provided free from area offices and libraries. It becomes only the fourth local authority to make such a charge, following the lead taken by Aberdeen City, Angus and Argyll and Bute councils.

Members voted 13-7 to support a recommendation from East Lothian Citizens’ Panel, which, following a recent public survey, called for a nominal fee to be charged.

At a meeting of the full council, the SNP opposition voted against the bag charge, arguing that even a small fee would do little to encourage irresponsible dog owners to bag and bin their pet’s waste.

Councillors were told that the dog fouling situation was improving in East Lothian, with sample pavement fouling falling from a high of 26% in 2013 to the current average of 7%.