A FARMER wants a fence to be put up to prevent sheep from being hit by cars, poisoned by plants, and going missing. 

Jonathan Benson, of Great Langdale Glamping, shared a graphic photo on his social media of a Herdwick found dead on the side of the road near Elterwater.

Mr Benson said that since he took over as the tenant farmer on Great Langdale Common nine years ago 350 sheep have gone missing, not counting deaths from being hit by cars. This equates to around £45,000 in losses. 

He said that 10 to 15 sheep die in Elterwater village each year, from eating garden plants that are poisonous. He blames all this on the lack of a fence on the common, which he says is due to a combination of groups opposing it on the grounds of destroying the look of the Lake District, and too much 'red tape.'

Any amendment to the common would have to be approved by the Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (known as Defra), who would make a decision based on the views of multiple stakeholders. 

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He said on his Instagram: "The start of the bank holiday weekend in the sunny lake district, it's set to be a busy one with the school holidays and great weather forecast - just remember speed kills. 

"The joys of having sheep graze on an open common with a road through it does not come without its trials and tribulations. We have tried for years to get the sheep held back from the roads - applied for numerous fences.

"The infrastructure is outdated it worked years ago not anymore 100 years ago if there was a problem they would just get on and get it sorted nowadays you're tied up in red tape."

He told this paper: "We have been with this for the last thirty years. It should be left to us [farmers] and we can do the cheapest possible option. We have just got to keep addressing little bits at a time but it is annoying. We have had a lot of sheep disappear and stolen."

Defra did not provide a specific comment but re-iterated that section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 requires consent from the Secretary of State to carry out certain works on registered commons, including fencing.

A spokesperson from Defra said: "We recognise the value of common land both as places of natural beauty and of recreation. As a result, all applications for works are considered carefully to ensure that the proposed modifications balance the interests of all stakeholders."