UK councils, stop hassling dog walkers

With Britain under lockdown, dog walkers’ daily walk with their animals is literally one of their last remaining freedoms. Yet the Manifesto Club has been receiving an increased number of complaints about arbitrary and pointless crackdowns on dog walkers. New restrictions on dog walkers have been introduced under lockdown, dog walkers have found themselves in the dock, and dog wardens have been out in force. North Somerset has decided that now is the best time to criminalise dogs off leads in the whole of the borough. This would mean that there will only be a few designated areas where dog walkers can…

Horsham’s PSPO banning busking, periodicals, and more…

Horsham Council is consulting on a PSPO banning a series of new activities. It already has banned the racing of horse and carts, free running and urban gymnastics, and engaging in ‘nuisance behaviour’. Now the council is planning a further ban on unlicensed busking, ‘selling of periodicals which include a prize draw competition dependent on skill’, nuisance behaviour in carparks (which appears to be targeted at homeless people), and the drinking of alcohol in two public places. You might have thought that the council would have more pressing matters to deal with right now. Even in the midst of a pandemic, some…

Victory for dog walkers in Instow!

North Devon Council has at last listened to dog walkers and members of the public and modified PSPOs banning free exercise of dogs on beaches. Below is a note by Joanne Bell, from the Dog Walkers Alliance, who has campaigned against restrictions for the past few years. Thanks to all those who have engaged with various councils and landowners during this incredible and controversial saga for some 10 years – and more recently to those who took part in North Devon Council’s PSPO Dog Control Consultation. There is now no doubt that North Devon values what our dogs bring to society as…

Lyme Regis dog owners against the new dog-ban PSPO

(A guest post by Debbie Conibere, founder of Lyme Regis dog owners group). The Lyme Regis’s Loving Dog Owners, Visitors & Friends Facebook Group is asking Dorset Council not to use a PSPO (Public Spaces Protection Order) from 1 January 2021 to enforce a new blanket ban on exercising dogs off lead on the only safe and accessible beach in Lyme Regis. Instead, the group requests that laws already in place regarding dog ownership are enforced appropriately.  This will ensure loving dog owners are not unfairly penalised by only targeting those who break the law. This new PSPO ban will stop the…

Manifesto Club response to JCHR inquiry

The Joint Commission on Human Rights (JCHR) has launched an inquiry on the freedom of expression, and issued a call for submissions. One of the questions they are investigating is: ‘Is there a need to review the wording and application of Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) legislation?’ The Manifesto Club submitted a response to the inquiry, arguing that PSPO legislation is not fit for purpose and should be urgently reviewed. Read our full submission on the parliament website.

In support of PSPO reform petition

A petition has been published on the UK Parliament website calling for the review and reform of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). The petition states: We believe that local authorities are unfairly implementing Public Space Protections Orders that adversely impact dog owners, cyclists, bikers and others, without adequate consultation or consideration of the impact of these orders. The Government should review reform the rules for creating PSPOs, so the intention of an order has to be set out clearly in the consultation survey, consultations must have a minimum response within a certain time period, and evidence must be produced to support the…

A local resident takes on Peterborough’s anti-cycling PSPO

Peterborough introduced a PSPO that restricted cycling; the punishment and issuing of fines was outsourced to a private company. The result was a massive 2430 fines issued in Peterborough in 2018, largely to sensible cyclists. The council recently called a consultation on the renewing of its PSPO. David Jost, a local resident, sent the following response: Earlier this year Peterborough City Council declared ‘climate emergency and resolved to achieve’zero-carbon’ by 2030. Amongst other measures this requires a general switch from carbo-generating motor traffic to walking and cycling whenever and wherever feasible. Thus cycling needs to be given every encouragement. To ban cycling…

Manchester Council abortion clinic PSPO: Manifesto Club response

Manchester City Council is proposing a PSPO outside a Marie Stopes abortion clinic, which will include a prohibition on ‘protest, namely engage in any act of approval / disapproval or attempted act of approval / disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services by any means. This includes but is not limited to graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counselling.’ While the Manifesto Club wholeheartedly supports women’s right to access abortion services without harassment or obstruction, we have grave concerns about the broad nature of this order and its impact upon freedom of speech. Here is our response below to…