Lake District National Park Authority suspends trail hunting on its land 'indefinitely'

Traditional fox hunting has been banned in England and Wales since 2004. Credit: PA Images

Trail hunting has been banned indefinitely in the Lake District National Park, the authority has confirmed.

A suspension on the activity, which involves dogs following a scent along a pre-determined route, has been in place since November 2020.

It's meant to replicate a traditional fox hunt, which was banned in England and Wales in 2004.

However, critics say the sport has been used to cover-up illegal hunts.

Trail hunting sees hounds chase a pre-laid scent trail Credit: PA

National Trust members voted to halt it on the charity's land, after a senior huntsman was convicted of telling people to use the sport as a “smokescreen”.

Bosses at the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) have confirmed licences for the practice have been suspended indefinitely on their land.

A spokesperson said: "Officers made the decision and at a briefing members expressed support for their decision.

"This continues the suspension which has been in place since November 2020.

"We will continue to liaise with fell packs, landowners and other stakeholders, including Cumbria Police."

Polly Portwin, Director of the Campaign for Hunting at the Countryside Alliance said:

“It is for hunts to show that their activity is legitimate and once that is demonstrated there can be no justification whatsoever for restricting a legal activity by the Lake District National Park Authority”

A spokesperson for the Hunting Office said:

“It is disappointing that a decision has been made without any meaningful consultation with trail hunting’s new governing body.

Moving forward, we will try to continue dialogue with the Lake District National Park Authority, as this involves land that should be open to all, without discrimination. Trail Hunting continues to be a lawful and legitimate activity enjoyed by many people across the country”.

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