Landowners urged to check public liability insurance

Businesses that own land where cattle are grazing are being reminded to make sure they have good public liability insurance in case of accidents on their land.

Around four or five people are killed every year in the UK in accidents involving cattle, and spring and summer are the most dangerous times, when walkers are out and cattle have returned to the fields after wintering inside.

Whether you are a farmer, a landowner or run any business where members of the public could come to harm, it’s essential to have a good public liability insurance policy to protect yourself in case of unforeseen circumstances. Wiltshire farmer Brian Godwin of Timothy Rise Farm is currently facing action from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a walker was trampled to death by cattle on his land in 2013, Farmers Weekly reported.

Land agency Bruton Knowles said that, as well as checking their insurance, landowners should think about putting up warning signs if public footpaths cross land where cattle are kept.

Spokesman Matthew Peters said: "Farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about walkers and members of the public, who should be very wary when crossing a field that is occupied by cows and calves.

“If a public footpath does cross a farmer’s land, placing clear signs is a good way to inform the public of the dangers and will help mitigate any potential issues. Those walking dogs should also be told to keep them on a lead and under control.”

The HSE also advised farmers to keep cattle away from fields where there is a right of way if possible, especially during holiday periods and when cows have calves at foot and are especially protective of them. It suggested erecting temporary fencing to keep cattle and walkers separate where possible on public rights of way.