Following the death of a group of horses on a railway line Cambridgeshire, police are trying to find new ways to stamp down on fly–grazing.

Twelve horses were killed when two trains collided with them last month (19 November) and, although no passengers were seriously injured, the situation could have been even more serious.

As a result Cambridgeshire Police told H&H that it is now actively looking into green yard schemes.

The idea is to create a safe space where horses can be taken and kept for 14 days until an owner can be traced. It is also possible in these circumstances for police to look to prosecute by way of section 155 of the Highways Act for allowing animals to stray on to the highway.

The problem is that green yard schemes require money and manpower and with many horses not microchipped, tracing owners can be impossible.

“Green yarding is a consideration but there is no single solution to the problem of stray horses or fly-grazing. Ultimately we need to be encouraging responsible horse ownership, which we continue to do alongside our partners within local councils and the RSPCA,” said a spokesman from the force.

Earlier this year the Cambridgeshire police told H&H it was looking into the possibility of giving people Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) in order to try and tackle the problem in the area.

However, the force now does not believe this is a “viable approach” due to the difficulty in identifying owners.

A private members bill to give local authorities greater powers to deal with the problem was approved at its second reading in the House of Commons on 27 October but is still a long way off becoming legislation.

Ref: H&H Thursday 20 December, 2014