New law to give Notts farmers and landowners power to deal with fly-grazing

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Nottinghamshire farmers and landowners have welcomed a new law to deter the practice of leaving horses illegally on private land.

The safe passage of the Control of Horses Bill through Parliament on Wednesday (18 March) means it is set to receive Royal Assent within the next fortnight and become law before the General Election in May.

The Country Land and Business Association CLA, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the eastern region, said it will help to deter, and swiftly resolve, cases of horses left illegally on private land – a practice known as fly-grazing. It will also mean the rights of landowners in England, as well as the welfare of these animals, will now be adequately protected.

A spokesman for CLA said Fly-grazed horses threaten the livelihood of farmers, damage land, divert Local Authority resources, and risk the safety of motorists when they escape on to roads.

Landowners currently have to wait 14 days before they can act, but the Bill cuts this to just four.

CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “The CLA has campaigned for a long time on this issue and, after working closely with several other rural organisations and animal welfare charities, we’re delighted the Control of Horses Bill will become law.

“The result of these efforts is that farmers and landowners in Nottinghamshire will at last be able to deal with fly-grazed horses in a timely, humane and cost-effective manner without damage to land or at risk of liability for horses left illegally on their land.

“In its original form, the Bill would have put private landowners at a disadvantage by not allowing them the same controls as Local Authorities, so we are pleased the Government has now responded to our concerns by extending powers in the Bill to them also.”