Bid to ban trail hunting on Cornwall Council land fails

Trail hunting will continue on Cornwall Council's land despite a campaign for it to be banned.

The legal sport, which sees hunts use an animal-based scent for hounds to follow, was widely adopted in the wake of the traditional fox hunting ban following the Hunting Act 2004.

But at the start of this year, Against Foxhunting Cornwall called for trail hunting to be banned on Cornwall Council's land - which covers around 23,000 acres.

It came after National Trust members voted to no longer issue licences for trail hunting on its land and Peterborough and Cheshire Council also suspended the sport.

But pro-trail hunting campaigners in Cornwall described any plan to ban it as "anti-rural".

Following a debate and consultation, Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor has decided not to implement a ban.

It means the council's farm tenants will still be able to decide whether or not to permit trail hunting across their agricultural holding.

But new rules are being introduced which mean hunts have to notify the authority of any events and their impact on roads ahead of time.

In a statement, Cornwall Council said: "Trail hunting is a legal activity and Cornwall Council will continue to permit council farm tenants to decide whether or not to allow trail hunting on land within their agricultural holding. However, after carefully reviewing the situation, the Council is introducing changes to limit disruption to local communities.

"The council will work with the hunts to review their annual plan of trail hunting events and formal gatherings in advance of the season commencing, so that all parties can agree which events should require licensing and provide time for the hunt to submit the required documentation.

Trail hunting will be allowed to continue on Cornwall Council land

"Furthermore, hunts will now notify the council of all events through the event notification form, which will require the securing of the highway for exclusive use. No such event will take place without a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) having been issued.

"It is hoped that these measures will help reduce any potential disruption to local communities and road users."

There are currently five active hunts in Cornwall and Polly Portwin, who manages the Countryside Alliance’s campaign for hunting, said trail hunting’s popularity in Cornwall is growing.

She said: "Banning a lawful activity would be a direct attack on rural people and we were pleased to see so many councillors expressing their support and understanding for our community during the debate back in January”.