AS EVERYONE knows, dog-fouling in our streets and parks is a constant menace.
I get regular complaints from local residents about the state of the streets in Queen's Park and elsewhere. Everyone agrees that irresponsible dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs have fouled the pavements should be fined or worse.
What is Westminster City Council's response to this scourge of modern life? Well, until recently there was just one dog warden to police the whole of Westminster. Over the past year just a handful of irresponsible dog owners have been charged for failing to clear up after their dogs.
Now, with extra Government money, Westminster has just two dog wardens to serve a city with a population with a quarter of a million people and a day time population of over a million.
What sort of priority is that for dealing with a problem that afflicts almost every street and every park in Westminster?
There are cameras all over Westminster which have no problem in taking pictures of cars which transgress the parking regulations. Yet those same cameras appear to turn a blind eye to dog fouling and other crimes which afflict residents.
It seems to me that Westminster Conservatives simply does not care about this very basic environmental issue. They are more concerned with high-profile West End projects.
On his election as leader, Colin Barrow said his big idea for the coming four years is to spruce up Marble Arch. All very well, but is this really Westminster's most pressing environmental issue? It does say a lot, however, about the Conservatives' anti-resident priorities under their new leader.
And only last week, it was revealed that the Westminster Conservatives are trying to take
£56million from the poorer East London boroughs to give the West End commercial areas of Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Leicester Square a makeover in time for the 2012 London Olympics.
Why are Westminster's residential communities given such low priority by Westminster Conservatives? The state of the environment all over Westminster has visibly deteriorated over recent years. Yes, there are recycling bins on many street corners, but how many times have you turned up with your recycling, like me, to be confronted with full and over flowing recycling bins surrounded by uncollected plastic bags full of uncollected newspapers, bottles and cans?
It doesn't inspire you to continue recycling and it looks an awful mess.
Westminster Conservativesjust don't seem to understand how concerned residents feel about these basic environmental issues.
So, I say enough is enough. Stop the spending on the high-profile West End vanity projects and get back to doing the job that you were elected to do - clearing up the dog mess, employing more dog wardens to prosecute irresponsible dog owners and collecting the recycling on a regular basis.
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg Leader, Westminster Labour Group
City Hall, Victoria Street, SW1