Britain has a “huge smelly problem” over dog fouling with a “dog poo bag code” being required to protect the environment, ministers have been told.

Conservative MP Anne Main said people need to be better educated about the problems caused in woodland areas and elsewhere by the inappropriate disposal of dog poo in plastic bags.

She said this must make the public feel as “anti-social about doing this as people feel about smoking in public places”.

Posters in farmland areas would raise awareness of the fouling problem while better signage to highlight the location of dog poo bins and better placed bins would also help, Mrs Main said.

The St Albans MP, a dog owner, bemoaned those who wrap dog faeces in colourful plastic and leave it dangling from trees, bushes or people’s fences.

She told a Westminster Hall debate: “Deer ingest the bags, children may handle the packages, cyclists have even ridden headlong into them as they dangle from low-hanging branches. It’s disgusting.

“Some dog walkers use sandwich bags, freezer bags or even supermarket bags to scoop up the poop before lobbing it off into the environment, and there it festers, causing blight for years.”

Mrs Main added local authorities receive upwards of 70,000 complaints a year about dog fouling, also telling MPs: “There are approximately nine million pet dogs in the UK.

“One in four households in the UK have a pet dog and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poo a day.

“That’s the weight of 365,000 tonnes a year, the same weight as the Empire State Building in New York – or, to bring the problem closer to home, 5.6 times the weight of St Paul’s Cathedral in dog excrement every year.

“We do have a huge smelly problem.”

Mrs Main also suggested communities minister Marcus Jones should develop a “pragmatic poo strategy” as part of his development of a litter strategy.

She said: “I would suggest a pragmatic poo strategy that helps recognise the failings of human nature, the need to try and enjoy the family walk and at the same time do the right thing.”

Mr Jones said the Government will consider suggestions put forward in the debate, reiterating a wider litter strategy is to be published.