• Written by Andrew Davis
  • Posted on Oct 28, 2021
  • Articles

Cattle on Hungerford Common

The cattle that graze on the ancient pastures of Hungerford Common are at risk of being hit by cars, especially those being driven at excessive speed at night.  There have been four accidents in the past ten weeks, three in the past week as the nights draw in.  One accident resulted in the animal having to be destroyed on the spot, the others in various injuries.  There is a minority of locals who cause the damage and then complain that cattle should not be allowed on the road.  The Town and Manor of Hungerford and the Liberty of Sanden Fee, to give the correct title, dates back to John of Gaunt in the 14th century, along with associated common land.  The inhabitants of the town are fortunate indeed to have recreation on such open pastures, which are kept looking as they are because of the grazing of cattle.  Indeed, it is illegal under Commons Law to have internal fences on commons.  The highways department of West Berkshire Council have declined to take any further action to reduce speeds on the roads so the ancient regime is at risk from the unacceptable behaviour of a few selfish, ignorant drivers.

Heather Burning Challenge

The High Court has dismissed a judicial review of Defra’s Heather and Grass Burning (England) Regulations 2021 brought by Wild Justice.  Heather burning is allowed under the regulations between October and April on shallow peat and, in very exceptional circumstances, on deeper peat.  Having listened to evidence of the major benefits brought by muirburn, not least in reducing wild fires, the judge dismissed the case, an attempt to ban the practice.

New Zealand Trade Deal

A trade deal with New Zealand covering beef and lamb has been warmly welcomed by farmers in New Zealand but greeted with dismay by those in Britain.  There is a transition of 15 years during which quotas are gradually increased until there are no tariffs whatever.  The fact that one party is delighted, the other disappointed tends to suggest that it is hardly a balanced agreement!

Standards Pledge

However, the Government has pledged to uphold British standards of animal welfare and environmental protection in new trade deals.  There will be an independent watchdog to ensure that new trade deals meet commitments on health, welfare and quality standards, effectively a strengthening of the existing Trade and Agriculture Commission.