Horses scared by shoot noise

NOISE CONCERNS: Sylvia with Honey and Ricco, at her Longridge yard where she stables five horses. She says they are regularly spooked by shoots in the area

NOISE CONCERNS: Sylvia with Honey and Ricco, at her Longridge yard where she stables five horses. She says they are regularly spooked by shoots in the area

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A rural resident claims noise from shoots are affecting her horses.

Breeder Sylvia Bentham, who keeps five horses at her stables in Pinfold Lane, Longrdige, said she regularly has problems on shoot days.

She said: “Normally shooting as a country sport would take place on large country estates, well away from residential areas.

“Even then they would probably only visit the same area two or three times during the season.

“Over Christmas there was shooting in this area from 9am until dusk, five days out of seven, which I consider to be unreasonable.

“I do acknowledge that this is not the same party shooting all the time, that there are random shooters and farmers in their own fields, but it’s like a war zone at times, spooking my thoroughbreds with the continual gunfire, as well as scaring riders and dog walkers on the nearby footpath and bridleway.”

Shoots are run legally and under the British Association of Shooting and Conservation’s (BASC) codes of 
practice, but Mrs Bentham feels some bounds are being overstepped where property and safety is concerned.

She has organised a meeting today with Longridge’s Coun David Smith, the county council’s environmental section and Ribble Valley’s health and safety team.

David Luke, leader of the local Goosnargh and Ribchester Syndicate, established 20 years ago, said each event was strictly organised.

He said start times from 8.30am to dusk are always adhered to, six drives usually with ten guns completed, three in the morning and three in the afternoon, and notification of times and drives given to farmers and property owners.

He said: “The distance ruling from roads is 50 feet from the central highway.

“There is no ruling from properties, but we aim to inform people of drive times near them.

“Sometimes retriever dogs or even a drive may go over a boundary, but we aim to keep such action to a minimum.

“We informed Mrs Bentham of our shoot last Saturday, which went without complaint and was a good day.”

The shoot runs as a successful business with birds eventually processed through game distributors, 500 having been put out as poults at the season’s start.

Local police are also involved in the safety aspect with an operations order on all 15 shoots emailed to all officers in Ribble Valley.