The Assistant Director provided Members with an update on dog licences. Members heard that the scheme introduced in 2020 had set a cap of 70 licences. 89 applications had been received, and there was an issue with a possible appeal on how the cap had been identified. The appeal process is complicated, and the Assistant Director said they would prepare a paper for review by the Committee. They said that that the information provided by licences could be used to ensure there was a proactive approach to mitigating the impact of dog walkers on sensitive areas of the Heath.
A Member (Heath & Hampstead Society) asked if all the received applications would now be accepted, as this might make it harder to potentially reduce numbers in future. They felt it would be appropriate to apply a precautionary principle under further information was available. Another Member (Weston) said that the main issue with dog numbers was the amount of faeces that resulted from their presence on the heath. The Assistant Director said that since the introduction of charging for licences, there had been a reduction in the level of dog faeces on the Heath.
Two Members (representing the London Council for Sport and Recreation and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Resident’s Association) requested further information on the criteria for the setting the cap at 70 licences.