Our Saturday independent columnist Observer reviews the latest tactics to nudge motorists to obey speed limits and dog owners to clean up after their pets.
Bit by bit Uckfield is getting the message across to those who perhaps do not conduct themselves to our “high standards”.
We, of course, always clear up any mess our dog may leave in the parks, playing fields, nature reserves and footpaths.
We, of course, would never leave a filled dog poo bag hanging from the branch of a tree or bush.
And we would, of course never ever (well hardly ever) exceed the speed limit.
Uckfield has gone down the route of education to try and change people’s behaviour. It is not alone in using such methods.
You will probably have seen the town council’s “Any bin will do” signs with regards to dog mess and now they are to provide ten points around the town on land it owns to dispense bags to those who go out and forget to take one with them.
Admittedly, not huge steps but some gentle nudges in the right direction.
A similar policy is unfolding with regard to speeding motorists.
Signs on lampposts, deploying the Speed Indication Device (SID) to flash up the speed of drivers as they approach and now residents buying 30mph reminder signs to put on wheelie bins in a couple of residential areas.
Again, not earth shattering but a move in the right direction.
It is a fair point to make that it won’t stop a minority of drivers speeding, nor will it make some dog owners change their habits.
When it comes to speeding, the authorities do enforce the laws.
Mobile cameras are used and flagrant breaches will clearly be tackled by police during the course of normal patrols.
Those who allow their dogs to foul and fail to clean up are harder to catch.
Do we really want CCTV cameras (and the cost involved) pointing at our recreation areas to catch such offences?
I would say that makes no sense.
However, each of these small steps will isolate the speeding driver and the errant dog owner.
Their numbers will, I hope become smaller and then they really will stand out like a sore thumb – making them much easier to identify and prosecute.
‘Nudge’ is part of behavioural science and I think what we are seeing in Uckfield fits well with theory which aims to get people to make decisions which they will see are in their general self-interest, rather than penalising them.