A FIRM employed to tackle littering and dog fouling in Blackburn with Darwen could lose the contract from October.

The council is seeing if other littering enforcement firms are interested in operating the service in the borough, currently served by Kingdom.

Earlier this year, it was revealed the council had extended Kingdom’s contract until October but now firms are being asked to submit expressions of interest in taking over.

A spokesman said: “The council is a proactive enforcer in terms of environmental crime, but due to reducing resources the enforcement of litter and dog fouling had declined.

“To address this, the council tendered for an outsourced dog fouling and litter enforcement service which operates at zero cost to the council in summer 2017, and the team commenced work in October 2017.

“The primary aims of this service was to improve the level of dog fouling enforcement, and to raise awareness of personal responsibility in relation to disposal of waste.

“The current team has successfully delivered the service since then but the opportunity is being taken to retender for October 2019 using lessons learned to improve the service specification, which is currently under development with a view to commencing tendering around June 2019."

At present £75 fines are given out for littering and £100 for dog fouling.

Speaking when Kingdom’s contract was extended earlier this year, executive member for environment Cllr Jim Smith said: “During the period of the team’s operation, the team has performed satisfactorily in terms of conduct and diligence.

“Initial impact on litter levels in Blackburn town centre were noticeable, particularly around the bus station, although this improvement has slackened off in recent weeks, resulting in increased tasking of the team in the town centre.

“During the period of the team’s operation, there has inevitably been some media interest, but while there has been criticism from some aggrieved parties as might be expected, public opinion appears to have been generally favourable.”

Borough service lead for environmental health, Gary Johnston, said since October 2017, 7,557 fines have been handed out for littering with a further 44 for dog fouling and 622 for smoke-free offences, while five people have been fined for not having their dog on a lead.