Problem with clay shoot - query on laws and where to redress

#1
My wife and a friend went hacking on their horses this weekend, and on the return trip came by a clay pigeon shoot that had setup whilst they were out. The horse spooked, my wife was thrown and is now in hospital with a broken back.

The shoot is new to the area, I haven't established if it's going to be a regular meet. They weren't expected to be there, unlike the hunt nearby homes weren't informed and there were no signs on gates. The land is crossed with footpaths and bridleways.

I'm still reading round the issues, but questions on my mind are:

i) Were the shooters required to warn via signs/flags/sentries?
ii) If they've breached the distance to footpaths requirements, who do I contact?
a) Firearms Officer, local/parish council?
iii) I'm aware of noise limits being in place near bridleways (70dB?), are the shooters required to measure before starting?

On the back of all this, and more importantly, is can I do anything about this? Can I seek lost earnings from their insurance if they did breach one of more regulations? I've heard anecdotally that there were two other accidents that same day involving horses and if this is going to be a regular thing, it's going to cause a problem for a lot of people in the area.
 
#2
How close to the bridleway was the nearest gun?

It is an offence for pellets to pass within 50yds of the centre of a public right of way if it causes injury, distress or alarm.

There's a start...
 
#4
Not required to post sentries. Should of informed the firearms licencing manager unless it was a private shoot on private property. Not required to measure noise before starting. Signs should of been posted and a boundary erected (even with mine tape) to show the range danger area which should be 275m in depth (minimum). They were only required to stop the shoot when someone using the footpath approached. Don't have to inform local homes. They should have public liability insurance (stupid if they don't). Contact BASC for further clarification and the possibly the local Firearms licencing manager.
 
#7
Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions, as idiots cause too much damage to the sport I would be glad to see the back of them
 
#8
Not required to post sentries. Should of informed the firearms licencing manager unless it was a private shoot on private property. Not required to measure noise before starting. Signs should of been posted and a boundary erected (even with mine tape) to show the range danger area which should be 275m in depth (minimum). They were only required to stop the shoot when someone using the footpath approached. Don't have to inform local homes. They should have public liability insurance (stupid if they don't). Contact BASC for further clarification and the possibly the local Firearms licencing manager.
Definitely [or I'm 99% certain but checking] private property, I assume if they don't charge participants, it's a private shoot?

Shooting definitely didn't stop, and she was seen.
 
#10
Whilst the aforementioned document is correct in some parts, it is full of holes and it is not the law. BASC is the authority for UK shooting and are the SME's. Every shoot is individual and that is what it is based on. As i have said before, the range should be clearly marked out and sign posted. If someone ignored the signs or the segregated area, then it is on their head.
 
#11
How close to the bridleway was the nearest gun?

It is an offence for pellets to pass within 50yds of the centre of a public right of way if it causes injury, distress or alarm.

There's a start...
Not quite.

Highways (amendment) act 1986

“(2)If a person without lawful authority or excuse—

(a)lights any fire on or over a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway; or

(b)discharges any firearm or firework within 50 feet of the centre of such a highway,

and in consequence a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.”.
 
#12
If it was on private property, then most of the rules tend not to apply, however the guidelines say that if the public have access they should stop when they are sighted and you should ideally have sentries, if not clear line of sight.
 
#13
i) Were the shooters required to warn via signs/flags/sentries?
ii) If they've breached the distance to footpaths requirements, who do I contact?
a) Firearms Officer, local/parish council?
iii) I'm aware of noise limits being in place near bridleways (70dB?), are the shooters required to measure before starting?
Firstly, I'm sorry to hear of your wife's accident and hope she makes a good recovery from her injuries.

In answer to your questions:

i) Were the shooters required to warn via signs/flags/sentries? - No.
ii) If they've breached the distance to footpaths requirements, who do I contact? There is no distance to footpath requirement. Only applies to a "highway comprising a carriageway" - (generally, a road) and then it is 50ft from the centreline.
a) Firearms Officer, local/parish council? - Not relevant
iii) I'm aware of noise limits being in place near bridleways (70dB?), are the shooters required to measure before starting? I'm not aware of any such legislation. Do you have any details? Act and section?
 
#14
Regardless of what statute law says there may be a common law duty here.

@1782dave to sue them for damages you need to prove that they had a duty of care under common law, that they were in breach of it and that the breach caused your wife's injury. I hope she is not too seriously hurt by the way - what a horrible thing to happen.

@gorilla presumably BASC guidelines could be taken as best practice to determine if the shooters were in breach of the Common Law duty of care to other land users? I am not an expert on this kind of thing outside of an employment situation but presumably those who use land to which the public have access do have a duty of care to use that land safely.

Interesting link on a solicitor's page here http://www.thrings.com/site/news_events/rightsofway_jun11.html where I note one of the things a landowner can fail to do is "Fail to warn the public of potential dangers near the right of way", which seems to be the case here.
 
#15
Like i said BASC are the subject matter experts, they advise the Home Office on shooting matters. BASC guidelines are best practice and most people strive to meet them. Unfortunatley common sense isn't something that can be taught! Which has led to this situation, the shooters in my opinion screwed up and have brought the sport into disrepute. Check the local Byelaws.
 
#17
#18
If that;'s your local council then it looks as though they have some quite definite guidelines - but note these aren't all law. Give them a ring and talk to someone about what has happened and see if you can get some action taken to stop these idiots hurting anyone else.

In the meantime if you want to try to recover damages for injury or loss, go and speak to CAB or try a no win no fee type solicitor for a free consultation.
 
#19
They are the council guidelines for a regular shooting ground open to the public, which would require council approval. However if it isn't a regular shoot, then the council don't need to be informed. However they are only GUIDELINES, and are not rigid in any sense and is more of a nice to have. Each shoot is different. The lay of the land can dictate what noise is created. For instance the 1500 m quoted is ridiculous, especially if it is in a wooded area as trees absorb the sound.
 
#20
I'd say you need to contact the following and get answers from them:
HSE- Find out if any H+S laws have been broken
BASC- Get their view on the situation
Firearms licencing manager- I'm sure he would be interested in idiots abusing their SGC
Local Council- Find out whether or not the shoot is regular and has permission. Also If any local Byelaws have been
broken.
 
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