There are new calls to crack down on the traditional practice of sheep commoning in the Forest of Dean (when sheep wander around grazing on open land).
The council had previously attempted to issue a PSPO, which would have banned sheep from a particular area. The PSPO was fought by the Sheep Commoners Association, with its secretary Mick Holder saying:
PSPOs are a disaster for our sheep and shepherds, they challenge ancient rights and could effectively bring to an end generations of sheep commoning in the Forest of Dean. Sheep ‘badgers’, the name given to sheep commoners, are generally responsible people who work with local people to solve issues or problems with sheep grazing. This measure is indiscriminate and inappropriate when there are other means to solve problems. We hope the council will see sense and find other ways to address any problems.
The Commoners were successful; the council rejected the order by the narrow margin of one vote.
Now there is a new petition calling for the banning of sheep commoning, after the sheep have been accused of walking in roads and causing ‘62 sheep fouling incidents‘.
It looks like the commoners will have to be vigilant in order to defend their practice against this new intolerance.