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New Law to Safeguard Millennium Oakwood 12 February 2008

The Forestry (General) Byelaws have recently been amended making it an offence to allow dog fouling in any area of the Millennium Oakwood unless it is immediately collected by the dog owner. Previously it was only an offence to let a dog foul on, or within one metre of, pathways.

The Oakwood was established to mark the Millennium in 2000 through a mass planting of Oak saplings by the 6,500 primary school children of the Island. Since then, this green open space and its developing woodland have become very popular with the public for visits and picnics and especially with dog walkers. The Oakwood is convenient for Douglas and for visitors to the adjacent hospital.

Brenda Cannell MHK, Chairman of the Forestry Division, which manages the site said: “Whilst generally the majority of dog owners comply with the Byelaws in picking up faeces where deposited on paths, there have been increasing numbers of complaints about dog dirt across the whole site. Those guilty of a dog fouling offence under the Byelaws are liable to a fine of up to £1,000 and the Department has achieved successful prosecutions for dog fouling in the past.

‘It is hoped that the amended Byelaws will encourage people to behave responsibly and ensure that the Oakwood remains an enjoyable and safe place for the entire family. It was always anticipated that this area would be used as a development opportunity for school children of all ages. Indeed, the site is used annually for an orienteering event by Cronk y Berry School and children also revisit the site, year round, to see how the trees are maturing.’

The Department welcomes responsible dog owners to many of its glens, plantations and lands and has created a dog walking code which visitors are requested to follow. The code is available to download from here or for further information please contact the Forestry Division on 801263.

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