Countryside and Rights of Way Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 1st November 2000.

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Photo of The Earl of Carnarvon The Earl of Carnarvon Crossbench 5:15 pm, 1st November 2000

My Lords, I should declare an interest as an owner and breeder of racehorses. The Government have listened carefully to the views of the racing interests as regards access to these areas. I am extremely grateful to the Minister and his advisers for the helpful way in which they have looked at this problem and come forward with their amendments.

We were considering an extremely dangerous situation where the public at large might quite innocently walk across land used for racehorses in the middle of an exercise during the early hours of the morning. Someone could easily have met with serious injury. I believe that the amendment will be helpful to trainers, their staff, riders and jockeys.

I believe that it may interest noble Lords to know of the statistics at Newmarket, supplied by the Jockey Club land agent. Some 24 hospitalised cases are reported every year, along with one death--and those incidents do not in any way involve the general public. If someone should stand up after sleeping behind a bush just as horses--in particular two year-olds--walked by, the horses would scatter. Serious damage would probably be incurred by the horses but, more importantly, serious injury could easily be caused to the riders.

What the Government have suggested is excellent and will be welcomed by all sections of the racing industry.