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Mudmuppet  
#1 Posted : 13 February 2024 13:12:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mudmuppet

The number of people fataly injured by cattle is around 4 to 5 annually, it peaked at 11 in 2020. Farming is under pressure from many organisations on access to the countryside, yet the farmer is trained in producing food predominatly.

HSE Agriculture Information Sheet (AIS) No 17E (rev2) is a very good document, however its not widely known in the industry, I'm only aware of it because of my professionl qualifications. I do farm 100 beef suckler herd cattle and calves with various ages from 0 to adult at 24 months.

I graze our herd in the fields that are closest to the farm and where the inclines of the landscape are too steep to drive a tractor safely, where the fields are closest to the farm are the rights of way. The rights of way are all next to field entrances and have been for 100's of years.

The challenge to the HSE guidance is that the farmer has no isolation authority to keep public off a field while cattle graze, yet in the workplace you keep people out of the hazard such as (Confined Space Regulations 1997, reg 4). This apptitude should be applied to rights of way, its not meaning stop access, only while cattle graze.

The current guidance if followed correctly applied 100% would see 87% of Welsh farmers cease to farm for example, all of these farms are operating at a certain amount of risk depending on how often people access their land.

AIS No 17 (rev2) I ask should be amended to close a field to help users of cattle manage their resource in preventing harm to people accessing the countryside?

grim72  
#2 Posted : 13 February 2024 15:19:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
grim72

There have been a number of incidents recently that spring to mind - mainly the two examples below (one of which was relatively local so stuck in my mind).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-64311096

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-67726095

Clearly at times cattle needs to be moved for one reason or another and giving the farmer the ability to "temporarily" restrict access to areas that could be accessed by walkers duting such activities would make sense in theory. I guess the issue arises with how/when and who monitors etc?

Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 13 February 2024 16:42:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Changing "rights of way" is not something the law can currently accommodate in a rapid manner to suit a farmer moving their herd between fields - there is due process required of notification and enquiry especially for long standing rights. Similarly temporary stopping of a right through a particular field is mired in legislative process.

At least in the field a portable electric fence could be used to keep the herd away from humans.

Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 13 February 2024 16:42:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Changing "rights of way" is not something the law can currently accommodate in a rapid manner to suit a farmer moving their herd between fields - there is due process required of notification and enquiry especially for long standing rights. Similarly temporary stopping of a right through a particular field is mired in legislative process.

At least in the field a portable electric fence could be used to keep the herd away from humans.

Kate  
#5 Posted : 13 February 2024 20:29:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Ever since an occasion long ago when I was terrified by a herd of friendly and curious young cattle who followed me across a field and tried to make friends until I rudely climbed over the nearest fence, I have been hesitant to enter fields with cattle close to the right of way and have quite often turned back instead.  Oddly, the exception is the horned, hardy breed which do conservation grazing locally and who I know to be so placid that I'm hardly scared at all.

However, as a user of public footpaths, I don't feel I can fairly criticise farmers for cattle being in their fields!

thanks 1 user thanked Kate for this useful post.
HSSnail on 14/02/2024(UTC)
HSSnail  
#6 Posted : 14 February 2024 08:50:57(UTC)
Rank:: Super forum user
HSSnail

OK, so let's be clear: HSE information sheets, Including Agricultural Information Sheet 17EW, are not law; they guide farmers on what they must consider regarding "Reasonably Practicable" measures to safeguard the public. Some breeds, particularly bulls and beef herds, are well known to be aggressive, so it would be difficult to show a reason for keeping them in a field with a public right of way.

For dairy herds (even with some bulls), the guidance is to "assess whether the bull or animals in the herd are generally placid and well-behaved;"

Yes, there have been a number of prosecutions for attacks on the public, but in most cases, there has been a previous history of problems that the farmer has ignored.

Successful prosecutions are easy to find; failed ones don't fit the HSE agenda and are not newsworthy to the gutter press. Last year, the Father of a friend of mine was in court charged by the HSE after his cows injured a walker.

Brief details – it was on a public right of way; he had signage on the entrance to the field warning the cows were there.

This group of walkers got into the field over a wall from private land off the right-of-way route. They had a dog with them, which was not on a lead. The dog ran in among the cattle and the calves; unsurprisingly, the cows defended their young. The family then waded in to try and rescue their dog, and one was injured.

During the HSE investigation, the inspector tried to aggravate the cows and could not get a reaction out of them even when they brought dogs (on a lead) into contact with them.

The HSE's case appeared to rest on the fact that an electric fence was not used. This was the 1 item in 17EW that was not followed.

This was a typical Yorkshire Dales farm miles from mains services and it would have cost many thousands of pounds to provide one. Plus, in an adjacent field, a neighbour was operating a campsite. It was common for children to kick a ball over the wall and then climb to collect it. The farmer argued that the cost and risk to children outweighed the benefit of an electric fence.

A jury found in favour of the farmer, and he walked away from court with full costs, but he had gone through years of hell waiting for the prosecution.

Remember, Inspectors are not always right (Trust me, I was one. We are human). I know the inspector who took this case, and from the information I had, I don't see how it ever got to court – but there may be facts I am unaware of

Guidance notes are not law – and you don't have to follow them to the absolute letter – just show you have followed them as far as you need to.

So Muddmuppet, it looks like Welsh farmers are safe unless they do something stupid. Before I got into Health and Safety, I studied Agriculture at Bangor University as part of my degree, so I met many Welsh farms, and I know they are not stupid.

 

Sorry for the essay – rant over.

Edited by user 14 February 2024 08:52:31(UTC)  | Reason: Sorry missread Kates post thought she was critising famers for having cows in a filed when infact it

thanks 3 users thanked HSSnail for this useful post.
peter gotch on 14/02/2024(UTC), Kate on 14/02/2024(UTC), Mudmuppet on 15/02/2024(UTC)
achrn  
#7 Posted : 14 February 2024 09:09:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post

OK, so let's be clear: HSE information sheets, Including Agricultural Information Sheet 17EW, are not law; they guide farmers on what they must consider regarding "Reasonably Practicable" measures to safeguard the public. Some breeds, particularly bulls and beef herds, are well known to be aggressive, so it would be difficult to show a reason for keeping them in a field with a public right of way.

Yes, but but some of the information in the information sheet is law.

See, for example, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/59 - it is law that bulls of a recognised dairy breed may not be at large in a field crossed by a footpath, and others may only be there if accompanied by cows or heifers.

thanks 1 user thanked achrn for this useful post.
HSSnail on 14/02/2024(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#8 Posted : 14 February 2024 09:16:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post
This was a typical Yorkshire Dales farm miles from mains services and it would have cost many thousands of pounds to provide one.

When I mentioned electric fence I was thinking about the cables attached to a car battery in a field similar to the ones often abused as a prank when camping with Scouts.

https://www.electricfence-online.co.uk/animal-supplies/cattle/ (no affiliation just first result on the internet)

Today things have moved on with portable solar powered units.

Roundtuit  
#9 Posted : 14 February 2024 09:16:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post
This was a typical Yorkshire Dales farm miles from mains services and it would have cost many thousands of pounds to provide one.

When I mentioned electric fence I was thinking about the cables attached to a car battery in a field similar to the ones often abused as a prank when camping with Scouts.

https://www.electricfence-online.co.uk/animal-supplies/cattle/ (no affiliation just first result on the internet)

Today things have moved on with portable solar powered units.

HSSnail  
#10 Posted : 14 February 2024 10:06:51(UTC)
Rank:: Super forum user
HSSnail

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post
This was a typical Yorkshire Dales farm miles from mains services and it would have cost many thousands of pounds to provide one.

When I mentioned electric fence I was thinking about the cables attached to a car battery in a field similar to the ones often abused as a prank when camping with Scouts.

https://www.electricfence-online.co.uk/animal-supplies/cattle/ (no affiliation just first result on the internet)

Today things have moved on with portable solar powered units.

The case i refer to went to court within the last 12 months - so a jury did not agree with you! we all have our own standards about what is reasonably practicable - ultimatly a cour decides.

HSSnail  
#11 Posted : 14 February 2024 10:12:52(UTC)
Rank:: Super forum user
HSSnail

Originally Posted by: achrn Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post

OK, so let's be clear: HSE information sheets, Including Agricultural Information Sheet 17EW, are not law; they guide farmers on what they must consider regarding "Reasonably Practicable" measures to safeguard the public. Some breeds, particularly bulls and beef herds, are well known to be aggressive, so it would be difficult to show a reason for keeping them in a field with a public right of way.

Yes, but but some of the information in the information sheet is law.

See, for example, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/59 - it is law that bulls of a recognised dairy breed may not be at large in a field crossed by a footpath, and others may only be there if accompanied by cows or heifers.

So a strict liability enforced by police - not the HSE.

peter gotch  
#12 Posted : 14 February 2024 12:42:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Mudmuppet

As the Snail says you should treat HSE guidance with a handful of salt.

This is about balancing up duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and its subordinate legislation, along with Rights of Way legislation and your common law duties including those under the Occupier's Liability Acts.

Starting with the last of these, the case law is very clear that usually there is no duty to protect against injury to people from an obvious hazard - in this case cattle.

See guidance at The Law and Visitor Safety - Visitor Safety Group

Unfortunately the excellent publication from what was called the Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group is no longer free to download.

My guess (and it is just a guess) is that more than half of the fatal accidents in Great Britain involving cattle occur when people stray from rights of way and into fields that are OFF the rights of way - somewhat different in Scotland where there is a presumed right of access just about everywhere including those fields.

Ultimately you need to consider what is reasonably practicable for a farmer in Wales to be doing. As the Snail says, HSE and its Inspectors don't always make an appropriate judgement as to what is and is NOT reasonably practicable and all too often the Inspectors make the judgments with hindsight bias.

As a former Inspector, I investigated a fatal accident when a young girl nearly drowned in an artificial loch. She survivied that but died some time later from illness diagnosed as being due to ingesting microorganisms from the bottom of the "lake".

Many Scottish lochs are such that they have shelves. So people wade into e.g. Loch Lomond and find that the depth of the water suddenly increases dramatically when they come to the edge of a shelf. 

The artificial loch had been designed with shelves and my initial instinct as the investigator was to conclude that this was an entirely unnecessary feature. However we decided against enforcement action against either the operators or the designers.

However, with the benefit of thinking about this in the longer term, there was logic in the shelves. The artificial loch was designed for international open water sports so you need the depth and if you were to design it without the shelves the loch would need to take up a much larger footprint within the country park that it was built. 

So, in this scenario the balancing act is about what to do INSTEAD of avoiding the shelves - some signage warning of an invisible hazard? Some life saving equipment etc etc?

....and it IS a balancing act. Every year at least one somebody drowns in Loch Lomond, often just North of Balloch on the Eastern shore. So, every year there are demands for more signs and more life saving equipment, but every year people argue that already there are too many of each of these - which probably means that they have the balance just about right.

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Mudmuppet on 15/02/2024(UTC)
Kate  
#13 Posted : 14 February 2024 17:25:28(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

I'm afraid I have a complete empathy failure when it comes to anyone allowing a dog to go among cows with their calves.

Well perhaps not quite complete - I can empathise with the cows!

thanks 4 users thanked Kate for this useful post.
Roundtuit on 14/02/2024(UTC), PDarlow on 15/02/2024(UTC), peter gotch on 15/02/2024(UTC), Mudmuppet on 15/02/2024(UTC)
Mudmuppet  
#14 Posted : 15 February 2024 15:22:01(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mudmuppet

Originally Posted by: HSSnail Go to Quoted Post
OK, so let's be clear: HSE information sheets, Including Agricultural Information Sheet 17EW, are not law; they guide farmers on what they must consider regarding "Reasonably Practicable" measures to safeguard the public. Some breeds, particularly bulls and beef herds, are well known to be aggressive, so it would be difficult to show a reason for keeping them in a field with a public right of way. For dairy herds (even with some bulls), the guidance is to "assess whether the bull or animals in the herd are generally placid and well-behaved;"Yes, there have been a number of prosecutions for attacks on the public, but in most cases, there has been a previous history of problems that the farmer has ignored.Successful prosecutions are easy to find; failed ones don't fit the HSE agenda and are not newsworthy to the gutter press. Last year, the Father of a friend of mine was in court charged by the HSE after his cows injured a walker.Brief details – it was on a public right of way; he had signage on the entrance to the field warning the cows were there.This group of walkers got into the field over a wall from private land off the right-of-way route. They had a dog with them, which was not on a lead. The dog ran in among the cattle and the calves; unsurprisingly, the cows defended their young. The family then waded in to try and rescue their dog, and one was injured.During the HSE investigation, the inspector tried to aggravate the cows and could not get a reaction out of them even when they brought dogs (on a lead) into contact with them.The HSE's case appeared to rest on the fact that an electric fence was not used. This was the 1 item in 17EW that was not followed.This was a typical Yorkshire Dales farm miles from mains services and it would have cost many thousands of pounds to provide one. Plus, in an adjacent field, a neighbour was operating a campsite. It was common for children to kick a ball over the wall and then climb to collect it. The farmer argued that the cost and risk to children outweighed the benefit of an electric fence.A jury found in favour of the farmer, and he walked away from court with full costs, but he had gone through years of hell waiting for the prosecution.Remember, Inspectors are not always right (Trust me, I was one. We are human). I know the inspector who took this case, and from the information I had, I don't see how it ever got to court – but there may be facts I am unaware ofGuidance notes are not law – and you don't have to follow them to the absolute letter – just show you have followed them as far as you need to.So Muddmuppet, it looks like Welsh farmers are safe unless they do something stupid. Before I got into Health and Safety, I studied Agriculture at Bangor University as part of my degree, so I met many Welsh farms, and I know they are not stupid. Sorry for the essay – rant over.
No, thank you. Very useful to know and share, the job of caring for cattle and managing the once in a blue moon walker has been made less stressful from your input.
thanks 1 user thanked Mudmuppet for this useful post.
peter gotch on 15/02/2024(UTC)
Holliday42333  
#15 Posted : 15 February 2024 16:51:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Holliday42333

....... and then yesterday the HSE have this press release Farmer fined after friends had to climb tree to escape cow attack | HSE Media Centre

They must be following this thread 

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Kate on 15/02/2024(UTC)
peter gotch  
#16 Posted : 15 February 2024 17:47:45(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Thanks Holliday.

Looks like a not atypical case of HSE Inspector applying hindsight bias.

“Where possible, farmers should avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk.

“Had Martin Falshaw followed this advice, or effectively segregated the cattle, this incident could have been prevented.”

...and if the defendant pleads guilty (with plenty of reasons why they might do this even if they think they have done nothing wrong, not least due to the reverse burden of proof as regards what was NOT reasonably practicable), HSE can say just about what they like in a subsequent press release.

The press release comments on a warning sign being destroyed and not replaced. Whether the sign would have been sufficient to deter access into the field is debatable.

Perhaps the very small fine is illustrative as to how minor an offence the Court deemed it to be.

thanks 3 users thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
Kate on 15/02/2024(UTC), MikeKelly on 16/02/2024(UTC), HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC)
Kate  
#17 Posted : 15 February 2024 19:46:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Hmm.  The walker in that case clearly had some very bad injuries, and the fine does appear derisory in comparison to that.

But really, is there a need to raise awareness in relation to the triangle of cows, calves and dogs?  Isn't it blatantly obvious to everyone except the most innocent townie, and covered by the typical signage that any rambler will have seen on their rambles?

I recall having a serious debate with my partner about whether or not to enter a field being used by cows and calves, and in the end going in but showing our respect and keeping our distance.  But we didn't have a dog.

Shouldn't we say that rights of way are rights for people, and not necessarily for dogs?

thanks 3 users thanked Kate for this useful post.
MikeKelly on 16/02/2024(UTC), peter gotch on 16/02/2024(UTC), HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC)
Mudmuppet  
#18 Posted : 16 February 2024 23:55:22(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mudmuppet

A woman and her friend had to climb up a tree to escape an attack by more than a dozen cows on a public right of way in North Yorkshire.

Janicke Tvedt and David Hood had set out on a popular circular walk from Masham with pet Labrador Goose, who was on his lead, on 25 July 2021. Part of their walk took them across the fields and public rights of way near Shaws Farm.

After entering a field off Foxholme Lane, the pair noticed several cattle in a field the path cut across, including cows with calves, so decided to give them a wide berth, passing through a narrow opening in a hedge. However, as they did, they then spotted a lone cow with two calves, and within seconds their dog was attacked.

Although they all managed to get away, they were soon cornered by other cows and 57-year-old Ms Tvedt was knocked to the ground and trampled. She was helped up by her friend, but at a nearby tree they found themselves surrounded by around 15 cows and had to climb a tree to escape a further attack. Martin Falshaw of Falshaw Partners, Shaws Farm, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £770.50 and ordered to pay £4,539 in costs.

How did the prosecution get away with using HASWA Section 3? Very contentious considering the forum discussion?

This incident is driving myself to challenge the right of way act and that it's unfit for today for the following reasons:

1. There's a pattern now of landowners and farmers of cattle being prosecuted, very few winning.

2. Continued fatalities and sever injuries to walkers with cattle in fields.

Solution:

1. New law to allow landowners and cattle farmers to close a right of way to allow the use of a field for cattle grazing, and it's down to a height of grass 1500 DM/kg of grass. If less it's not farming.

Support for this action: Cattle benefit the control of bracken, brambles, long grass on footpath, allowing grazing maintenance keeps the paths open.

Negative: Rivalries of access to countryside aggressively see this as landlords taking over.

I revert back to isolation, because like in Wales farmers and landowner will be losing a fair amount of revenue, the needs of those accessing the countryside don't understand the financial pressures of the UK farming industry and apply the stereotype answer all farmers are rich.

Im not far off selling up, and I'm sure the next landowner will be rich and have the money to keep people from accessing the countryside, it's my opinion and it happens. Hence I will pursue a common sense action for local authorities to allow farmers to close a path in the interests of public safety.

Mudmuppet  
#19 Posted : 16 February 2024 23:59:22(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mudmuppet

Originally Posted by: peter gotch Go to Quoted Post

Thanks Holliday.

Looks like a not atypical case of HSE Inspector applying hindsight bias.

“Where possible, farmers should avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk.

“Had Martin Falshaw followed this advice, or effectively segregated the cattle, this incident could have been prevented.”

...and if the defendant pleads guilty (with plenty of reasons why they might do this even if they think they have done nothing wrong, not least due to the reverse burden of proof as regards what was NOT reasonably practicable), HSE can say just about what they like in a subsequent press release.

The press release comments on a warning sign being destroyed and not replaced. Whether the sign would have been sufficient to deter access into the field is debatable.

Perhaps the very small fine is illustrative as to how minor an offence the Court deemed it to be.

[/quote

Where possible, farmers should avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk.

If this is my farm in the last 2 summers the cattle was in the field because that field was the only 1 with grass while I ordered fodder from my merchant?

]
Kate  
#20 Posted : 17 February 2024 09:50:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

When roads are closed for works, diversion routes are identified and signposted.

Are you proposing to do the same for footpaths across fields that you want to close?

peter gotch  
#21 Posted : 17 February 2024 13:12:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Mudmuppet

May be we are more civilised up here in Scotland where everything is about doing what is reasonable EXCEPT when a permanent stopping up notice is being considered.

Publication 2005 - Scottish Outdoor Access Code.pdf (outdooraccess-scotland.scot)

So, the idea that a farmer might wish to temporarily divert a path to enable their cattle to graze - and thence maintain - a path is OK subject to providing a reasonable alternative.

However getting back to what happens South of the Border, it is worth remembering that there have been relatively few prosecutions on this issue and they will have been almost invariably NOT defended.

A farmer who is prosecuted (like any other defendant charged with an offence under HSWA or associated legislation) has to make a decision whether to plead guilty or to take the case to trial.

VERY few defendants choose the trial option in H&S prosecutions and there are multiple reasons why they might plead guilty which include, inter alia an automatic reduction in sentence for an early guilty plea AND that if the issue is about the test of what was or wss NOT reasonably practicable, the onus is on the defendant to prove that element of the case on the balance of probabilities - which becomes more difficult if there has been an incident and hindsight bias may come into people's thinking.

The problem is that the HSE can then publish a press release that may present a skewed narrative, and the media (including the specialist H&S media) then tend to repeat what HSE has said verbatim with little, if any, interrogation.

Then people (incuding OSH professionals, some of whom should know better) tend to think that a case sets legal precedent when it doesn't.

All the case tells you is that Defendant A pleaded guilty to a charge saying that they did X, Y and Z, often with one charge saying that their risk assessment was not "suitable and sufficient". 

That usually tells the reader absolutely nothing about whether the risk assessment was ACTUALLY not suitable and sufficient as HSE rarely say how the risk assessment might have been improved.

....and if the main charge involved the test of "reasonable practicability" the case tells the reader absolutely nothing about why the defendant failed to reach the standard required NOR what would have reached that target.

Sometimes the HSE press release might say that M, N and O could have been done - and may be these were "possible" aka "practicable". That doesn't mean that M, N and/or O were "reasonably practicable" which is usually the test.

I think the wording of AIS17EW is unfortunate, perhaps even careless.

Rather than saying the farmer should CONSIDER a menu of precautionary measures it gives a list of bullets the first of which reads:

  • Wherever possible keep cattle in fields that do not have public access, especially when cattle are calving or have calves at foot.

But the test is usually NOT what is "possible" but what is "reasonably practicable". HSE should read the legislation for which it is the main enforcing authority!!!

The bullets that follow that which I have quoted are similarly problematic. As example:

  • Check that fences, gates, stiles etc are safe and fit for their purpose.

This strays even further from the test. It is effectively saying that there is a strict liability duty on the farmer to make sure that each and every fence is "safe" AND "fit for purpose" at all times, whatever the circumstances.

So, a storm comes along, a tree gets blown over and smashes the fence. If you take the guidance in AIS17EW at face value, the farmer is immediately in breach unless they take instantaneous action to move the tree and fix the fence! Perhaps the guidance should include a bullet to advise the farmer to pray to their deities to avoid storms. 

Fortunately AIS17EW is just guidance. It is NOT an authoritative statement of what the law ACTUALLY requires. 

Edited by user 17 February 2024 15:25:39(UTC)  | Reason: Additional text

Mudmuppet  
#22 Posted : 17 February 2024 19:55:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mudmuppet

Originally Posted by: Kate Go to Quoted Post
When roads are closed for works, diversion routes are identified and signposted. Are you proposing to do the same for footpaths across fields that you want to close?
At the entrance/exits of a field?
Kate  
#23 Posted : 18 February 2024 10:37:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Your field is not generally a destination that people aspire to visit and will therefore just turn back from disappointed if it is not open, as if it was a tourist attraction that had closed out of season.

Rights of way usually cross fields as part of a larger route on a journey that someone is expecting to undertake.  Each section through a field may be part of more than one route.  From A to B across your field might lead on to C and then D, and might at the same time, from a split in the path, lead on to a different route to E and then F.  So someone encountered a closed sign at your gate might need directions to C and then D, or might instead need directions to E and then F.

They might also be annoyed that they had just gone through the neighbouring field in the expectation of then continuing through your field, only to have to turn back, retrace their steps, and then walk a different way, because there was no information at the entrance to the previous field (which might not be yours) that this was now a dead end.

And then the problem may be that the diversion takes them on a route they would ordinarily wish to avoid, such as a road with vehicle traffic and no pavement, or a footpath that is often flooded, or a completely empty field with no footpath markings or obvious route out so that they end up at a loss or unintentionally trespassing somewhere else.

You might escape the liability of them being harmed by your animals while attracting the liability of them being harmed in some other way.

peter gotch  
#24 Posted : 18 February 2024 13:12:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Mudmuppet

I fully understand that the idea that all farmers are rich is one of those myths, and that farmers have been struggling with issues such as Brexit and the pandemic, not to mention increased biosecurity risks.

However, what Kate describes may sound difficult but it's precisely what SHOULD be done when roads are temporarily closed at short notice for more than a few hours and what SHOULD be done when a road is closed for even a shorter period of time if works are planned in advance.

This doesn't always happen and when it doesn't there is often plenty of anger that it hasn't happened.

Within the last week, my daughter (on a rare trip back to Glasgow) and a friend went for a ramble up the hills. They managed to get past the fallen trees, then crossed the top of the hill and back down - only to find a sign at the end saying that the path was closed due to fallen trees. Shame that Forestry and Land Scotland had apparently forgotten to duplicate the signage where they had started!

Exactly what is proportionate for either your field or the road alongside will depend on variables such as how much traffic either usually gets OR could be expected when the diversion is put in place.

So, suppose the right of way through your field is part of a "National Trail" or "core path", then you would expect much more pedestrian traffic than on some other rights of way, and perhaps increased traffic at certain times of year. 

Would it be unreasonable for the Council to expect you to liaise with them and your neighbours to agree what diversions are needed before it is time for your cattle to graze/maintain the field AND path, and to enable suitable signage to be placed along the route of the National Trail or core path to communicate to walkers how to get from Z (a point before reaching A at the entrance to your field) to Kate's C?

As she lives far from the sea, on her recent visit , my daughter thought about a day trip away from Glasgow and was considering Dunoon. So, I thought "Puck's Glen" and looked it up to find that the FLS website had an announcement that the Gorge path was closed due to fallen trees. So, the information was out there and she found an alternative.

OK, you are not as big as Forestry and Land Scotland and your field is less popular than Puck's Glen is (even at this time of year) but what FLS puts on its website could be miniaturised with local signage, before each end of your intended path closure?

Finally, in your initial posting you wrote:

HSE Agriculture Information Sheet (AIS) No 17E (rev2) is a very good document, however its not widely known in the industry, I'm only aware of it because of my professionl qualifications. 

This implies that you don't think that most farmers would know about the HSE or similar guidance. However, my guess is that most farmers who keep an eye on what is happening in the sector are probably regularly discussing the problems with rights of way through their land.

I can't see the detailed commentary but here at the NFU website:

NFU Cultivation and Vegetation on Public Rights of Way Buisness Guide – NFUonline

Edited by user 18 February 2024 13:21:21(UTC)  | Reason: Additional text

thanks 1 user thanked peter gotch for this useful post.
Kate on 18/02/2024(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#25 Posted : 18 February 2024 20:23:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Problem with all these events are the primary witnesses for the defence are unable to articulate to a court what has actually happened.

Instead the balance of probabilities is reliant upon one or two humans, often in a state of shock, being reliable and very importantly accurate with their recollection of how events truly unfolded.

As example anyone noted how during investigating a witnessed accident there are so many versions of events from the various humans who saw it?

Much as I despise many items of technology it would be very intersting to see one of these events unfolding from a cattle cam view and seeing how that stacks up against the human recollection.

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC), HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#26 Posted : 18 February 2024 20:23:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Problem with all these events are the primary witnesses for the defence are unable to articulate to a court what has actually happened.

Instead the balance of probabilities is reliant upon one or two humans, often in a state of shock, being reliable and very importantly accurate with their recollection of how events truly unfolded.

As example anyone noted how during investigating a witnessed accident there are so many versions of events from the various humans who saw it?

Much as I despise many items of technology it would be very intersting to see one of these events unfolding from a cattle cam view and seeing how that stacks up against the human recollection.

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC), HSSnail on 19/02/2024(UTC)
HSSnail  
#27 Posted : 19 February 2024 08:10:14(UTC)
Rank:: Super forum user
HSSnail

As you say round, the only witness is usually the injured person. I note a common factor in most of the cases quoted after my post - the farmer pleaded guilty. In the case of my friends father - the HSE inspector had scared him silly with talk of fines into the hundreds of thousands and imprisonment - when i applied the sentencing guideline i got a few hundred (its a small hill farm). Would have been much cheaper to just plead guilty. But he was determined he had done nothing wrong so refused to do that. The courts found in his favor. 

Dont get me wrong im not defending all farmers, used to be a very keen walker and I have seen some very deliberate acts to try and keep people of rights of way, but what a shame we dont see more people getting prosecuted for ignoring the Countryside Code. I live very near a small area of moorland, the signs will be going up soon asking people to keep dogs on a lead as it the breading season for many ground birds - i bet 90% of people ignore them as their little darling would never eat eggs in a nest!

thanks 1 user thanked HSSnail for this useful post.
peter gotch on 19/02/2024(UTC)
grim72  
#28 Posted : 19 February 2024 14:28:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
grim72

Just to throw another spanner in the works: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-68278444 - the whole debate regarding rights of way and rights to roam etc seems to be in a comlete mess south of the border. If you link the issues relating to the "need to trespass" to access the land that people have a right to roam then farmers will have even less options open to them in terms of how/where to move cattle safely?

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