A friend of mine really likes feta cheese. He lives in Blackheath. As a way of reducing costs in this age of austerity, someone suggested that a way to beat the supermarkets at their own game would be to buy a sheep, graze it on the heath every day, and return it to the back garden in the evening.
Is this possible? I had no idea, so I fired off an email to both Lewisham and Greenwich councils. Lewisham council got back to me very quickly, saying that it definitely isn’t legal. Here are the relevant bits of legislation, if you’re interested:
Metropolitan Commons Act 1866
Metropolitan Commons Supplemented act 1871 [Ch Ivii]
6. “except for those persons who now by law are entitled to do so, it shall not be lawful, without the consent of the board in writing, to turn out on the heath for grazing any cattle, sheep, or other animal”.
Existing bye laws London County Council 1932
25. No person shall turn out to graze or feed or allow or suffer to stray or remain any cattle, sheep, swine, horse, ass, mule, goose, duck, fowl, or other animal in any open space without right or without the consent of the council in writing under the hand of its Clerk.
Interestingly an additional bye-law on this subject is currently being drafted between Lewisham and Greenwich councils, with the Blackheath Joint Working Party, which includes the following clause:
London Borough of Lewisham
Blackheath Open Space, London SE13
13. No persons shall without the consent of the council turn out or permit any animal for which he is responsible to graze in the ground.
Which is pretty specific, although I note with interest that no consideration is given to scavenging home-made robots. Which may have to be left for a post another day.
The photo (including feta) above shows a recipe for feta and stuffed marrow, from the wonderful Smallest Kitchen blog. The marrows are from the farmer’s market, and it is highly recommended.