Grazing sites will be used to tackle horses problem

Horse paddock site at East Lea, Newbiggin.'REF 1810131526

Horse paddock site at East Lea, Newbiggin.'REF 1810131526

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A scheme to reduce the long-term problem of untethered horses around Newbiggin is to be introduced.

Northumberland County Council is to provide two authorised horse-grazing sites in a bid to resolve problems of horses roaming free in the town.

The local authority said it is offering Horse Grazing Licences to identified horse owners in Newbiggin for paddocks at East Lea and Store Farm in an effort to tackle the issue which has plagued areas in south east Northumberland for years.

However, the council said availability and space are limited.

The authority say the annual licence will cost £520 per animal, although there will be discounted rates and payment options available.

The potential solution has been backed by Newbiggin Town Council.

Town council chairman Will Rodgers said: “We are happy that the county council is providing this solution to the problem.”

Grazing licences will be issued on a grass-only basis and the horse owner or keeper will be responsible for providing water and any additional food as required by the animal.

Applications will only be considered for mares and geldings, as stallions will not be permitted on an authorised grazing site under any circumstances.

The routine tethering of horses is an unacceptable practice, and animals authorised to graze under licence will roam free within the confines of the paddock to which they are allocated.

The short-term securing of horses for inspection or veterinary treatment will not be regarded as tethering and will be permitted.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of the council said: “We are making real progress with our community partners to combat this problem.

“I would urge horse owners to take up this offer of grazing their animals legally on authorised sites, or the consequences could prove to be quite expensive.”

Northumberland County Council is continuing to work with community organisations, the police and housing landlords to combat the problem of horses being tethered illegally.

It is expected that the new horse grazing paddocks will open in early November, and planning has also started for another site in Ashington.