BBC dog mess experiment in Lancashire condemned

A BBC television programme that encouraged 20 dogs to foul a residential street in Lancashire has been criticised by a council leader.

Producers of The Street That Cut Everything used the dog mess to try to depict what life could be like if council services were withdrawn.

Preston Council's Conservative leader, Ken Hudson, said it was not a good way to spend licence fee-payers' money.

Tory MP Stephen Hammond said he would complain to media regulator Ofcom.

'Absolutely appalled'

The road has been renamed The Street for the experimental programme, to be presented by BBC political editor Nick Robinson.

Residents agreed to go without refuse collection, street cleaning and street lights and received a council tax rebate as they carried out essential services themselves.

Mr Hudson said: "I don't think that putting 20 dogs on a street to make sure that the street gets fouled by dog droppings is good television really.

"We know that the people of the street are a really caring community and I am not sure that they knew just what they were letting themselves in for.

"I am not sure whether they expected to be picking up dog dirt."

"We are absolutely appalled that people are leaving dirt on the streets. Normally we would prosecute people for doing that."

Mr Hammond, the Conservative MP for Wimbledon, south London and parliamentary aide to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said: "This is an outrageous piece of scaremongering by the BBC and compromises their editorial integrity.

"We need a full and frank explanation from the organisation about how and why this is a good use of taxpayers' cash.

"I shall be reporting them to Ofcom for what, quite frankly, is an unforgivable breach of editorial standards."

A BBC spokesman said: "This programme will explore how a community faces up to the choices involved in living in an era of cuts and examine the way in which people act as a group when confronted with limited resources and difficult decisions.

"The filming of the dog-walking scene demonstrates in exaggerated form one of the challenges residents would face if street-cleaning services were cut.

"The residents rose to the challenge and cleaned up the small amount of dog foul extremely quickly."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites