A group dedicated to preserving the beauty and tranquillity of Epsom and Walton Downs have passed new measures in the hope of enhancing the safety of racehorses, dogs and their owners.

Surrey Comet:

Epsom Dog Treks owner Andrew Eagle, 37, with his German Shepherd Leia at Epsom Downs

From Monday, January 25 dog walkers must keep their pets on leads before noon.

After midday, they may be let off their leads, provided they are under control and no horses are present.

Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators approved the measure after several recent incidents of racehorses being chased by dogs, resulting in injuries to horses and riders, as well as dog-on-dog attacks on the Downs.

The Conservators is a group of borough councillors, representatives of the racecourse and racehorse trainers who aim to preserve the Downs.

They believe the measure is necessary to ensure a safe environment for members of the horseracing industry and the wider public, including dog walkers.

Surrey Comet:

A spokesman from a new Epsom dog-walking agency welcomes the heightened safety afforded by the measure, but feels it is a shame that dogs’ enjoyment of the Downs might be restricted.

Chairman of the group, Councillor Liz Frost said: "We cannot allow the minority, the inconsiderate individuals who do not control their dogs, put the access of the Downs by all at risk.

"We must ensure that we preserve and safeguard these facilities for future generations."

Under the current by-laws of the Downs, the public are required to ensure that dogs are under proper control and effectually restrained from causing annoyance to any person and from worrying or disturbing any animal.

Surrey Comet:

Andrew Eagle, 37, (pictured above) from Castle Road, Epsom is the owner of Epsom Dog Treks - a new company that allows owners to drop off their dogs for Mr Eagle to walk, exercise and look after.

He said: "It’s great to have an area like Epsom Downs where you can have a dog off a lead, to have a free run away from the road.

"So it’s a shame that they’re suggesting that they should be on a lead all the time.

"But I do understand it can be pretty dangerous for the dogs and riders as well."

What do you think? Email letters@epsomguardian.co.uk