‘Chal­lenge peo­ple leav­ing dog waste bags’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Christopher Hope CHIEF PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

WALK­ERS should chal­lenge dog own­ers who leave their pet’s mess in bags on Na­tional Trust land, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s new chief has said.

Hi­lary Mcgrady, the trust’s new di­rec­tor-gen­eral, said her rangers were spend­ing too much time pick­ing up lit­ter and “dog poo” rather than con­serv­ing trust prop­er­ties.

In her first in­ter­view since tak­ing over in the role, Mrs Mcgrady said dog dirt left at Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties was a “night­mare”.

Mrs Mcgrady said: “It is our rangers that have to pick this up – and in­stead of do­ing the great con­ser­va­tion work they want to do they are spend­ing time clear­ing up lit­ter, and the great aw­ful thing they have to do which is dog poo, which peo­ple like to talk to me a lot about. It is a night­mare.”

The trust has erected signs at its prop­er­ties where pet own­ers had picked up dog waste and left it hang­ing in bags from trees and fences, urg­ing them to take it home.

A trust source said some dog own­ers on long walks hang their bagged pet’s waste in trees and then “de­lib­er­ately for­get” to col­lect it when they go home.

The source said: “It is an is­sue. Peo­ple hang it on branches and then pick it up at the end of the walk – but then they de­lib­er­ately for­get or do for­get [to col­lect it].”

Mrs Mcgrady, 51, a mar­ried mother of three who re- placed Dame Helen Ghosh last month, added: “Lit­ter­ing is a real prob­lem. I was sit­ting in the car yes­ter­day and a man just threw a cup out of the win­dow.

“I was aghast. Who does that these days? It is a real prob­lem that the na­tion has got pro­tec­tive about. Lots of peo­ple are chal­leng­ing it much, much more and that has got to be a good thing.”

Asked how she would re­act if some­one threw a crisp packet on Na­tional Trust land she said: “I would have to speak to the per­son and say: ‘What is that about?’ A, there is a bin. And B, more im­por­tantly, think about what is the im­pact of this lit­ter on this en­vi­ron­ment.

This week Michael Gove, the En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary, said walk­ers should not be afraid of ask­ing oth­ers to pick up lit­ter in the coun­try­side. ♦ Fly-tip­pers face higher on­the-spot fines of £400, which are to be in­tro­duced in the au­tumn. Therese Cof­fey, the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, said she wanted to end the “anti-so­cial crime that blighted the coun­try­side and our streets”.

A tree adorned with dog bags as a protest in Tod­mor­den, Lancs

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