Criticism of ‘stick and flick’ advice in newsletter for three East Northants villages

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A parish council has defended its advice to ‘stick and flick’ dog mess left on public footpaths as it tries to keep the community clean.

The September edition of Saints Alive, which is the newsletter of the villages of Great and Little Addington and Woodford, carries a small section about caring for the community.

It includes details on a community litter pick on October 7 as well as urging people to pick up after their dogs.

While the piece urges owners on village footpaths to bag mess and put it into one of the dog bins in Cranford Road and Lower Street, one reader contacted the Northants Telegraph about the following line, which states: “If you are on a public footpath don’t bag it, use a stick and flick it into the undergrowth instead.”

The reader felt this was an irresponsible way to dispose of dog mess and was unhappy that the advice had been published in the newsletter.

But Great Addington Parish Council has defended the ‘stick and flick’ advice, which they say was recommended by the Forestry Commission and debated by MPs last year.

Speaking ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on the issue, Conservative MP Anne Main said the countryside was being blighted by bags filled with dog waste hanging off bushes, trees and railings.

The council spokesman said the dog bins were bought by Great Addington Parish Council (GAPC) but they are currently emptied free of charge by East Northamptonshire Council.

And they added: “Over the years when the annual litter pick is held, we consistently receive reports from volunteers that dog owners have hung plastic bags full of dog mess on trees and hedges.

“We also once had a report from a resident who lives close to one of the dog bins that someone had put a bag of dog mess in their household bin when it was left out for collection.”

The spokesman said dog fouling is a persistent problem and the parish council is consistently exploring available options and resources to address it.

Editor of Saints Alive! Nick Palmer added: “My reading of the piece is that a clear distinction is made between public footpaths (across fields) and pavements (in built-up areas).”

The printed edition of Saints Alive! is read in more than 900 households in East Northants and is also available online.

What do you think about the ‘stick and flick’ advice?

Have your say on our Facebook page or send a letter to the Northants Telegraph at Headlands Business Centre, 10 Headlands, Kettering, NN15 7HP.