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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-27-05

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Countryside visitors encouraged to safeguard this national treasure

WITH the current warm weather, and the Bank Holiday weekend looming, the CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is appealing for countryside visitors to be vigilant and report potential wild fires and irresponsible dog walkers. The appeal follows in light of increases in sheep worrying by dogs, fly tipping incidents and an increased risk of fires due to the recent spell of dry weather. It has been estimated that around 15,000 sheep are killed annually in sheep worrying incidents and Police forces in the region are taking this crime seriously, especially at this time of year with so many lambs around. The CLA is urging dog walkers to follow the Dog Walking Code to ensure that incidents of damage and on farm accidents involving dogs are kept to a minimum as people make use of the spring weather to enjoy walks with their pets. 

CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn said:- "Country walks are an enjoyable pastime, especially when we have such glorious weather, but it is vital that dog owners understand their responsibilities when walking their dogs on farms. That means knowing where you are permitted to walk your dog but also keeping dogs on leads around livestock, making sure that dogs are under close control at all times, and cleaning up after them. Sheep and livestock worrying by dogs can have a disastrous effect for farmers and dogs disturbing or chasing wildlife can also both harm the animals and jeopardise conservation schemes which help to protect vulnerable plants and wildlife."

Focusing on rural crime and access to land, CLA member and Director at the Land Factor, Tom Warde-Aldam, said:- "On Sunday, my brother who owns land at Healey in Northumberland, lost 4 acres of his woodland after a fly tipper set light to a dumped mattress. In addition, we've also had irresponsible dog owners not clearing up after their dogs, blighting our rural landscape. It is a commonly held misconception that forested areas are a free for all in terms of public access, but this is not the case. In view of these incidents, we have had to reluctantly restrict access to Healey Estate, encouraging visitors to stick to the public footpaths. The Tyne Valley and larger Northumberland County is a fantastic asset, and we all share in our responsibility to look after it as a national treasure, so I would urge visitors to be responsible, and to report any rural crime that might damage it for future generations."

If a crime is suspected, call:- 999. Illegal trespassing can be reported by telephone on:- 101. In the event of a wild fire, contact the local area Fire and Rescue service.  The Dog Walking Code is an initiative published by countryside stakeholder groups including the CLA, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and the Kennel Club online.


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