Richmond Council has listened to local people’s concerns about walking dogs in parks.

Earlier this year, Richmond Council held a consultation on proposals for new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO). This order would be used to address anti-social activities in public spaces, which are having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of local people. This includes flying drones, using BBQs, starting fires and using fireworks.

The order originally proposed to limit the number of dogs that can walked by one person at any one time from 6 to 4. However, following the consultation, the Council proposed introducing 15 licences for borough residents and borough-based businesses who wished to walk up to 6 dogs at any one time. This was agreed by the Regulatory Committee on 11th July and on the basis that it would be reviewed after one year.

Following further research, discussions and meetings with a number of professional dog walkers, last night Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community, asked Council to approve a small increase in the number of licences available to 18, for walking up to 6 dogs in 6 of the borough’s larger open spaces. This would ensure a better balance of use of open spaces across the borough.

Officers will now be in contact with local vets to ascertain information on how many local residents there are with four dogs or more and who may want to walk them together.

When launched, the Council will work with their enforcement officers and Park Guard - the company commissioned to oversee park security across the borough - to enforce the scheme.

Over the next few weeks, the Council will finalise the criteria for both the licence and the review.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“We have the best parks and open spaces in London and we want everyone to be able to enjoy them. Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the number of complaints we have received about dogs not being under control in our parks. People have told us they feel intimidated when they see ‘packs’ of dogs being walked, sometimes by multiple dog walkers at the same time.

“Since Royal Parks introduced a £300 licence for professional dog walkers to walk a maximum of 4 dogs, more and more professional dog walkers - many from outside the borough - have come to our local parks.

“We want to ensure that all our parks are pleasant, vibrant places that everyone can enjoy. We don’t want people to feel intimidated or unsafe. The trial licensing scheme will ensure there is not an over concentration of professional dog walkers in any of our larger open spaces and the 4 dog limit will apply in all our smaller family friendly parks.

“Over the next few weeks we will work up the criteria for the licences and the review and liaise with vets around the borough to find out how many of our residents own more than four dogs.”

— from a Richmond Council press release - 13 September 2017