A note about the future of the cows grazing on Petersham Meadow

As supporters and donors to the Petersham Trust, you may appreciate an update.

The lease for the Meadows was transferred to the National Trust in September 2010. Soon after the cows returned in April 2011, in a widely publicised incident, an uncontrolled dog attacked a cow. Fortunately the cow was not seriously injured. As a result, the National Trust decided to place the cows behind fences thereby ending the amenity of cows grazing freely.

There was fierce opposition to fencing in the cows leading to a July 2011 public meeting which called for open grazing to be returned and dogs to be banned. It was stated that the attack was an isolated incident provoked by the dangerous dog. This approach was agreed between Richmond Council. as the landowner, and the National Trust at a September 2011 meeting.

However, late in 2011, the National Trust said that advice from their Health and Safety advisors was that the grazing cows and calves presented an unacceptably high risk of causing injury and even death to the public at large. This meant that an electric fencing regime was needed to protect people from the high risk of death and injury. Therefore the National Trust would not be honouring the September 2011 agreement.

Richmond Council’s view is that the agreement was the result of public pressure shown at the July 2011 meeting and that the public would have to be consulted before a reaction to the different National Trust position was given. The Council is also inviting written views. Should you wish to do so by email, I will ensure that they are taken into account.

To this end, a public meeting has been arranged for 7.30 pm on 29 May 2012 at the Petersham Village Hall at which the public can hear from the interested parties including the National Trust regarding the way forward and have the opportunity to express their views.

The electric fencing is now in place, with a reduced grazing area, pending a final decision.

Yours sincerely

Brian Miller
Former Administrator to the Petersham Trust