It may seem like an innocent pastime, but feeding geese at some parks in Dacorum could soon land you with a fine – or even lead to prosecution.
Dacorum Borough Council is drafting new byelaws for its parks, with the most recent updates happening in 1972, while some date back to 1899.
The most prominent of the new byelaws – local laws which if broken is a criminal offence – is to ban the feeding of wildfowl at local parks.
And the council’s cabinet is expected to give officers the power to hand out fixed penalty notices, or even commence prosecution if the byelaws are breached.
Magistrates’ courts can hand out a maximum fine of £500 for any breaches of the byelaws, and the council is adamant that it needs to enforce the rules if they are to be brought in.
It is hoped that the feeding ban will reduce the ‘excessive’ number of Canada Geese in places such as Jellicoe Water Gardens.
The council is also trying to educate people that feeding the geese bread is harmful as wildfowl can’t digest it properly, leading to poor health.
The council added that the excessive number of geese was causing slippery paths due to the amount of faeces – which also spreads disease and pollutes the rivers – as well the geese becoming ‘aggressive’ when they get used to humans.
Councillor Graham Sutton, portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, said: “While our focus will be on educating the public, it’s also necessary that we are able to enforce the rules – especially against persistent offenders.
“If members of the public continue to feed them against advice, their numbers simply grow and the problems they cause get harder to manage.
“It is vital members of the public understand why we’re implementing a no feeding ban, and work with us.”