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Lord Whitty: My Lords, on this rare occasion perhaps I may agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe; I do not think the amendment is necessary. The restrictions relate to people exercising the right of access. They do not apply to the owner using dogs on his own land or the owner who gives permission to others to use dogs for whatever purpose on his land. Therefore, both the original situation which my noble friend described, and the training of hounds with the permission of the owner will not be affected by the restriction.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend. Perhaps he will consider this point. I go with my dogs to my friend's farm. I want my dogs to go for a walk with me. I know that they will not chase sheep. I know the way to stop dogs from chasing sheep. One puts them in a pen with a ram and they will never chase sheep again. Will my noble friend accept that I would need my friend's

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permission for my dogs to go off the lead? He should have the right to give such permission. That is all I ask for in the amendment. If my noble friend thinks it is unnecessary I have very real doubts as to whether that advice is accurate.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, it is accurate. The owner can give permission both directly and tacitly, because if he does not object to you then no consequences arise. You are covered in the situation where you have not formally sought prior permission. If he does not object then no other sanction applies. Therefore, either way, you are allowed to exercise your dogs with the connivance or permission of the owner.

Lord Bragg: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Hardy for raising what could be a regional problem.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I am sorry to have to tell my noble friend that once the Minister has replied no one else may speak, other than the mover of the amendment who indicates whether or not he wishes to withdraw it.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I thought that with Amendment No. 45 were grouped other amendments, including the Minister's Amendment No. 118 and my Amendments Nos. 119 and 210. I should like clarification from the noble Baroness as to whether they are to be spoken to at the same time.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, strictly speaking, noble Lords who wish to speak to other amendments should do so before the Minister replies.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, how can I speak to the Minister's amendment if he has not spoken to it himself?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, we have a slightly confused position here. I thought I allowed time for noble Lords to speak and therefore my noble friend Lord Hardy followed me. If we are discussing all amendments in the group then I shall formally move Amendment No. 118 and allow the noble Earl to make his points and open the debate to others.

Lord Bragg: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Hardy, my noble friend the Minister and the House for allowing me to discuss very briefly what might be a regional difficulty. I refer to trail hounds. They are bred for great speed in Cumbria from foxhounds. They race freely across open countryside or fell land for varying distances, but always several miles. Their pursuit is motivated by nothing more inflammatory than a trail of aniseed laid down

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immediately before the race. The many supporters of trail hounds find it financially possible to own and train one or two of these amiable dogs. They derive enormous satisfaction from that.

Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, indicated that no other noble Lord could speak on this amendment. I do not quite understand why indulgence is given to those behind her that is not given to noble Lords in other parts of the House. There are other amendments which can be spoken to when they are called.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, all the amendments in the group can be spoken to. The Minister was replying to Amendment No. 45 but I take it that, tacitly, he was, with the leave of the House, dealing with an immediate issue that arose. The whole of the group is now open for debate and all noble Lords who have amendments in this group and indeed other noble Lords are at liberty to speak.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, does that include the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Hardy, as I wanted to say something about it, or is that now ultra vires?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, it includes the amendment of my noble friend Lord Hardy.

Lord Bragg: My Lords, life is a struggle!

The hound trails often bring life to remote villages in Cumbria which hold the meetings. They are a rich part of local life. The meetings are generally held in the evening.

It is vital that it should be made absolutely clear that hound trailing is not subject to restrictions regarding the use of a lead. That would destroy a sport which plays such a unique role in Cumbria where, as elsewhere, country life and country living, especially in the hill farm areas, are now under great strain. I thank your Lordships for your indulgence.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, the Minister has now spoken to Amendment No. 118. I have tabled Amendments Nos. 119 and 120 as amendments to Amendment No. 118. As they are all grouped, perhaps it would be for the convenience of the House if I spoke to them now.

There are a number of points arising from Amendment No. 118 on which I seek clarification. The amendment includes the words,


    "by taking such steps as may be prescribed".

Who will prescribe those steps? Will it be open to the landowner to challenge the prescription? How will that work? Will the landowner require permission from the access authority in order to make this enactment? Will he have to consult the local access forum? None of that is clear in the amendment. I am concerned about the implications of the Bill.

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Another word in the amendment worries me. The final line of subsection (1) of Amendment No. 118 refers to persons who do not take "dogs" on the land. Does "dogs" include "a dog"? Does the plural include the singular? That is an important point for us to get straight. Those are the four points on Amendment No. 118 on which I seek clarification.

When speaking to Amendment No. 32, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, said that dog owners have rights. That statement cannot be let go without some challenge. I do not think that that is a correct statement. Dog owners have responsibilities but they do not have rights. It is one's personal choice to have a dog. Having made that personal choice, one then has responsibilities. One should not have rights. It is with regard to the exercise of those responsibilities that we are seeking clarification.

I turn now to Amendments Nos. 119 and 120. While I welcome in principle Amendment No. 118, I cannot understand why it is restricted to moor,


    "managed for the breeding and shooting of grouse".

My mind immediately went to the heathland of Norfolk, which I used to know quite well, where there used to be, and still are, a large number of wild English partridges. The land was managed for the benefit and preservation of the wild English partridge. At the same time, the land was managed for farming. That is no different from a grouse moor. I cannot understand why the Government have decided on a separate category of owner. If an owner is preserving and enhancing wildlife--on the one hand, grouse, of which I thoroughly approve--why should not the same benefits be given to an owner on the Norfolk heathland, which is likely to be scheduled under the Bill, to prevent dogs from going onto that land?

The grey partridge is declining in numbers and needs to be encouraged. It has now been recognised throughout the House that a dog can cause considerable damage at nesting time. I am considering also the position of wildfowl and the wader species. As I pointed out in Committee, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a "heath" as marsh. If an owner manages a marsh for the benefit of wader species, then why should not that owner be given the same benefit as the owner of a moor? That explains the reasoning behind Amendments Nos. 119 and 120.

I should have mentioned this earlier in my contribution, but I shall return to it now. Subsection (3) of the new clause in Amendment No. 118 limits the amount of land to,


    "a field or enclosure of not more than 15 hectares".

That troubles me because a great deal of lambing still takes place on the open hill. From what was said

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earlier, it appears that it will be quite possible that a field or enclosure of 15 hectares might well be excluded as excepted land because it may be cultivated or more intensively farmed; namely, it is likely to be in-bye land. However, the owner of land just beyond that will not be protected in any way. Again, we shall see a division between owners. One owner with fields of 14.5 hectares will be able to prevent dogs from going on to his land. But the farmer up the road who undertakes his lambing on the open hill will receive no protection, even though those sheep on the open hill will probably be more scared by dogs. They will be more likely to panic than ewes lambing in a field.

I once had the enjoyment and difficulty of working as a shepherd on the hill in Scotland. I have seen the consequences of stray dogs disturbing blackface sheep. Once those sheep begin to run--with no boundaries within a 15-hectare area--they simply run and run. At lambing time that can be very detrimental. The noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, made exactly the same point.

I hope that the Minister will explain further the intentions behind Amendment No. 118. I hope, too, that he will look sympathetically on Amendments Nos. 119 and 120.

11.15 p.m.

Lord Jopling: My Lords, I was somewhat staggered to hear a treatise from the noble Lord opposite about hound trailing. I thought that I recognised in his contribution almost precisely some of the remarks I made at col. 1400 on 3rd October. I shall read out only one section:


    "For those of your Lordships who may not be familiar with hound trailing, a paraffin and aniseed drag is laid over a course of about 12 miles around the mountain tops".--[Official Report, 3/10/00; col. 1400.].

If ever a case could be made for plagiarism, this is it. For a moment, I thought that the noble Lord was reading out my speech from another occasion. Having listened to the remarks that have been made as regards repeating what was said in Committee, I thought that it was all a bit hot.

However, who am I to complain when someone on the opposite Bench takes exactly the view that I took in Committee about the need to ensure that no measures are taken in the Bill to interrupt the historic sport of hound trailing in the Lake District? I declared my own interest in Committee as the part owner of two trail hounds and also my membership of the Trail Hound Association, so I shall not declare those interests again.

I am delighted to have an ally here, but I had expected, during the contribution made by the noble Lord, to have received some recognition of the author of his remarks.

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