Denbighshire's environmental enforcement contract is set to go to another external contractor.

The Council’s partnerships scrutiny committee voted to accept a proposal to put the enforcement contract to tender at a meeting on Thursday, February 14.

This tender process will allow Denbighshire County Council (DCC) to select an external contractor to take on the environmental enforcement contract vacated by Kingdom last year after complaints from the public and councillors over the behaviour of the company's staff.

Kingdom were also criticised for concentrating its efforts on people who dropped cigarette butts rather than tackling the problem of dog fouling.

The council’s own figures showed that during 2017 76 per cent of fines handed out were for cigarette littering and just 1.9 per cent were for dog fouling.

DCC officers have said the new agreement will focus on dog fouling, dog control and littering, with an emphasis on engagement and education.

Denbighshire is hoping to have a new firm in place by the beginning of May.

Cllr Tony Thomas, the council’s lead member for Housing, Regulation and the Environment, said: “We have agreed on the type of contract we want to put in place for our new environmental enforcement service and will now move on to the tender stage.

“We want to continue the downward trend of environmental crime in the county and continue to keep our streets clean and tidy for residents.

“Enforcement officers will be asked to target dog fouling and dog control and whilst undertaking those duties, officers will be able to enforce against other crimes such as littering.

“Officers will be deployed on an intelligence led approach and be sent to areas where the highest levels of complaints originate from or where there is evidence of individuals disregarding legislation and committing offences.

“The number of dog fouling complaints in Denbighshire is falling and behaviours are beginning to change. Engagement and education will form a significant part of the work undertaken with a particular emphasis on engaging with children.

“We will work with colleagues in environmental services to share information and to identify fouling hotspots.”

But councillors at the meeting were sceptical about this approach, fearing a for profit company would concentrate on more lucrative offences.

St Asaph East county councillor, Andrew Thomas, said: “I am not convinced that this is a viable financial proposition. You’ve got the one part of the report saying that it has to be cost neutral and in the same breadth you are asking them to reduce the number of attendances so that goes against their income generation.

“You want more emphasis on dog fouling which only generated 1.9 per cent so a company that comes in will have to go after things like cigarettes. They’ll have no option.”

Denbigh county councillor, Rhys Thomas, said: “We should perhaps call this Kingdom 2, it seems we are going down the same road we’ve been down before.”

Members of the committee supported the idea of opening up the service to tender for another private company by six votes to three.

The Council will now proceed to the tender stage of procuring an external provider to deliver the enforcement of environmental crime in the county.