AN organisation which backs hunting says there is “no justification” for a motion calling for it to be banned on council-owned land.

The bid, put forward by Colchester councillor Lee Scordis, will go before Essex County Council tomorrow.

It calls on the council to “not to allow any future trail hunting and exercising of packs of fox hounds” on its land.

Trail-hunting involves laying of a scent across the countryside which a pack of hounds then searches for and follows.

Mr Scordis’ move comes weeks after Nottinghamshire County Council voted to ban hunts on all land it owns.

Hunting foxes with dogs is illegal in Britain, but there are a number of exemptions which Labour councillors said were being used to get round the law.

But the Countryside Alliance, which campaigns for the future of hunting with hounds, said: “There have been no prosecutions of hunts for illegal hunting in Essex since the Hunting Act was enforced, nor is there any evidence to suggest Essex hunts regularly break the law so there is absolutely no justification for this motion being proposed other than pure prejudice.

“It is ironic that it was the Labour Party, during the passage of the Hunting Act, that argued trail-hunting was a viable alternative to traditional forms of hunting, yet Labour is proposing to ban a perfectly legal activity that is enjoyed by thousands of Essex residents.”

Councillors on Essex County Council will debate the motion at a meeting tomorrow.