Hampstead Heath’s war on dog walkers as it puts entry limit on pooches



The number of dogs that can be walked on Hampstead Heath is set to be restricted, putting 60 dog walking businesses at risk.

Dog walkers will only be allowed to walk up to four dogs on Hampstead Heath and will also be restricted to certain areas of the beloved North London park.

There had previously been complaints that dog walkers were walking ten dogs or more at once on the Heath and concerns have been raised about the impact dogs have on wildlife in the park.

The scheme has even been backed by the RSPCA but professional dog walkers believe that the change could seriously affect businesses in North London.

READ MORE: Petition launched to stop plans to cap how many dogs can be walked in London parks

Over 5,000 people had previously signed a petition against the new licenses in order to “save dog walkers”.

When the idea was first suggested, campaigners wrote: “the measures proposed are so arbitrary and so draconian that more than 60 successful, small and medium-sized enterprises, built with love and hard work over the years, will be forced to close as a result of the changes.

“With the rapid rise in puppy sales since the first lockdown back in March 2020, we expect to see a spike in demand for dog walking and dog sitting services across the city when many will be returning to work.

“If people are unable to access reliable dog daycare services it could have devastating repercussions for our customers and the dogs involved.

The City of London Corporation, which runs the Heath, has been consulting dog walking unions and has even used heat maps to figure out which areas are most popular with dogs.

The new rules mean that 70 professional dog walkers will be allowed to apply for a license to walk dogs on the Heath as well as in Queen’s Park and Highgate Woods.

The City of London Corporation even discussed limiting dog walkers from only being allowed to walk their dogs in the mornings (7 am to 12 pm) or afternoons (12 pm to 5 pm) – but it has since scrapped the idea.

Speaking at a City of London Corporation health committee meeting on September 29, Cllr Anne Fairweather said: “We have delayed this scheme because of Covid and the lockdown and I do think because it has hung over for nearly a year it has also created a fair bit of uncertainty for people running those businesses.

“So I am keen that we do grant this delegated authority after our debate and get the scheme up and running.”

Dog walkers previously were allowed to walk up to six dogs at one time on the Heath while in other London parks such as Battersea Park and Wandsworth Common eight dogs can be walked at once.





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