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On 1st March 2016, a pilot scheme allowing dog walkers to use cycle lanes will begin for a 3-month stint to see if it could be an effective solution to the problem of dog mess on Southend’s pavements. Any dog poo within the cycle lane areas will be collected on a regular basis before being compacted and distributed to local green bin permit holders as a ‘mineral-rich compost.’

Robert Pinch is the chairman of the PoopScoopCycleRecycle initiative, and he feels that it will benefit a wide range of people in the borough. He said: ‘We asked 2500 regular Southend pedestrians if they felt positively about treading in dog mess on pavements, and 99.3% of the responses were ‘no’. Therefore, our working think tank has come up with the idea of allowing dog walkers to use cycle lanes anywhere in the borough as this will allow the canine excrement to be contained within a set area. Specially-adapted vehicles will perform a 24-hour circuit of the town to collect any ground-laying deposits, and these will be directly given out for free to anyone in the borough with a green bin permit – all they need to do is email [email protected]com.’

We asked Mr Pinch if the needs of local cyclists were being taken into consideration by the scheme. He said: ‘Cyclists in our town should be able to share their space with dog walkers without any safety issues – most dogs love bikes anyway. Also, any cyclist who encounters a freshly dispatched collection of canine bum nuggets is more than welcome to pick them up and take them home for their own garden to ‘sweeten the deal.’

If the scheme is successful, the first permanent Cycle and Dog Lanes in Southend could be legally designated by the summer.

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