Burnham Beeches considers new code for dog-walking

One of London's most popular dog-walking spots may clampdown on the pets after concerns over safety to people and wildlife.

City of London Corporation is to launch a 28-day public consultation in June on introducing dog control orders (DCOs) at Burnham Beeches. "DCOs will help us manage those dog-related incidents that remain persistent despite voluntary initiatives," said a spokesman.

The incidents range from dogs rearing up against people to the "savaging" of deer, he said of a minority of the 220,000 dogs brought to the park each year by visitors totalling 585,000 in number.

"We welcome dog walkers but have to consider their impact on the reserve and to balance their needs with those of all visitors and with the needs of wildlife."

Park superintendent Andy Barnard said his team spent £7,000 a year cleaning up dog mess - more than it can spend on ancient trees - and £17,000 in total managing dogs. Voluntary codes brought in over the past 10-to-20 years have failed to redress the balance.

From late September, the corporation aims to introduce five restrictions:

- Walkers must remove all faeces deposited by dogs.
- Dogs must be on a lead in designated areas.
- Dogs must be put on a lead when directed to do so.
- Dogs must not be allowed to enter land from which they are excluded.
- No more than four dogs allowed per dog walker.

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