Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO)
Councils can use a public spaces protection order PSPO to place restrictions on a public area, such as a park or a town centre. Restrictions can apply to either:
- all dog owners
- owners who meet specific conditions set out by the council
Councils can make a PSPO unless they’re:
- a parish or town council in England
- a community council in Wales
PSPO restrictions include:
- limiting how many dogs can be walked by an owner at one time
- requiring dogs to be on a lead in a specific public area
- requiring owners to pick up their dog’s litter
- preventing dogs from being in a certain place, eg a children’s play area in a park
A PSPO lasts up to 3 years and can be renewed.
When a PSPO can be issued
Because a PSPO is applied to a whole public area rather than to individuals, it should be used carefully. Consider whether there can be exceptions for working dogs, eg assistance dogs.
A PSPO can only be issued when a dog’s behaviour meets these conditions:
- it’s affecting or is likely to affect the quality of life of people in the area
- it’s persistent
- it justifies imposing restrictions on a whole public area
If a PSPO restricts local people’s space to walk dogs, you should provide other space to do this.
Some public areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) – previously called Dog Control Orders (DCOs).
PSPOs only apply to public land.
If you ignore a PSPO, you can be fined:
- £100 on the spot (a ‘Fixed Penalty Notice’)
- up to £1,000 if it goes to court
You can’t be fined if you’re a registered blind dog owner.
PSPOs in your area
Local councils must let the public know where PSPOs are in place.
Example: If dogs aren’t allowed in a park, there must be signs saying so.
If the council plans to put a new PSPO in place, it must put up a notice and publish it in a local newspaper and on its website.
The notice must tell you:
- where the new PSPO will apply
- if there’s a map and where you can see it