A former master of foxhounds has urged fellow riders to sign a petition to the government calling for lower speed limits on rural roads.

Ian Anderson, long-term hunter with the Ashford Valley Tickham (AVTH), in Kent, believes anyone “interested in the preservation of country life” should sign the petition, which calls for the limit to be reduced from 60 to 30mph on single-track country lanes.

Mr Anderson said the matter is a “top priority”.

“It is essential these speeds are reduced to a significant low level,” he told H&H.

“We’ve seen a great increase in the number of accidents involving horses on these lanes and B roads, but there also seems to have been a decrease in the authorities’ taking action in this respect.

“Even wearing head cameras by riders isn’t considered significant evidence, although the riders have noticed a good proportion of drivers note the cameras’ presence and change their attitude and speed accordingly.”

Mr Anderson said a friend of his had had a recent bad experience on the roads.

“A van whizzed by, then the driver jumped out and said: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t ride on the roads; it’s a 60mph limit’,” he said.

“I think a lot of drivers are ignorant; they believe animals react like cars.”

Mr Anderson, who was master of the AVTH for 10 years and still “goes out occasionally”, is trying to spread the word about the petition though Bethersden Parish Council, on which he sits, and says the problem is exacerbated by the downgrading of bridleways and housing developments in the area.

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“If people drive without due care and attention, and developments go on like this, we’ll have more accidents,” he said.

“I’d like to see this go to parliament.”