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New powers against illegal grazing

Those dealing with horses illegally abandoned on their land can now take swift action to remove them following the introduction in May of The Control of Horses Act 2015 (Act).

This Act gives landowners greater power to handle horses left ‘fly grazing’ illegally on their land which can damage land, crops and fences and have, in the past, been very difficult, time consuming and expensive for landowners to remove.

Landowners can now take illegally grazed horses to a place of safety provided they notify the local police within 24 hours of doing so. If an owner is not identified within four working days of notification, the landowner becomes the de-facto owner of the horse and can take such action as necessary, which may include re-homing or selling them. 

Landowners have seen an increase in the number of horses being removed following the posting of notices, probably because owners realise how quickly they can lose the ownership of their horse if it is not removed rapidly!

Frank Smith heads our agriculture and estates team which handles the acquisition and sale of a wide range of rural property including agricultural land, farms and country houses. Independent legal directory Chambers UK notes Frank 'is a much fêted property lawyer who represents landowners over conveyancing, easements and maintenance issues'. Legal 500 describes him as a ‘dealmaker’.