Public Spaces Protection Order number 2: relating to the feeding and petting of forest ponies, donkeys, horses and mules consultation
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Over the years, the dangers associated with members of the public feeding and petting roaming forest animals, have been well documented, publicised and the subject of numerous high profile campaigns, all with the aim of discouraging such behaviour. It is evident that such behaviour continues on a large scale.
Our report to our Executive on 2 November 2022 Cabinet Report - The Introduction of Public Space Protection Orders sets out the detrimental effects on the quality of life of those in the locality from such activities, namely a substantial risk that these activities increase the aggression of New Forest ponies, horses, mules or donkeys towards humans in the locality causing alarm and distress.
This also has a financial impact on New Forest Commoners where animals are harmed, and the risk of New Forest ponies, horses, mules or donkeys being withdrawn from the Restricted Area to the detriment of the New Forest Commoners and those who live, work or visit the Restricted Area. As well as physical harm or worse caused to New Forest ponies, horses, mules or donkeys.
To help reduce the risks associated with feeding and petting New Forest ponies, horses, mules or donkeys, we are proposing to make a Public Spaces Protection Order, referred to as The New Forest Public Spaces Protection Order 2022 (Number 2) ('PSPO Number 2').
View the draft The New Forest Public Spaces Protection Order 2022 (Number 2) (PDF) [8MB]
If made, Public Spaces Protection Order Number 2 would prohibit the following activities:-
(a) feeding or providing or depositing food for consumption by any New Forest pony, horse, mule or donkey; or
(b) petting or touching any New Forest pony, horse, mule or donkey;
The proposed Public Spaces Protection Order Number 2 would only apply to any land within the proposed Restricted Area . The Restricted Area principally comprises the Perambulation of the New Forest.
This is land which is open to the air and to which the public are entitled or permitted to have access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.
For example, this does not apply to feeding or petting of these animals on private property.
Within Public Spaces Protection Order Number 2 there are proposed exceptions relating to (a) any person who is a New Forest Commoner and owner of a New Forest pony, horse, mule or donkey, or their duly authorised servant or agent; or (b) an Agister.
Also within the proposed Public Spaces Protection Order Number 2, there are requirements for any person found to be acting contrary to the prohibition, to terminate any of the above activities, and to surrender any item in their possession, if an authorised officer reasonably believes it is being used or is likely to be used, in connection with the above prohibited activities.
Breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order
If made, breaching the terms of the Public Spaces Protection Order would be a criminal offence and could result in a fixed penalty notice being issued with a maximum penalty of £100 or prosecution which could result in a fine of up to £1000.
A Public Spaces Protection Order, if made, lasts for three years but can be extended.
Take part in the consultation
This consultation has now ended.