York City councillors have given the go ahead for the city’s horses to take part in a three-month trial testing nappies in a bid to reduce waste on the streets.

At present, four horses are used to take tourists around the city’s narrow medieval streets. The proposal was put forward by Dick Haswell,Head of Licensing for York Council, following complaints made by members of the public about the mess left on the cobbles.

“There are a small, but regular number of complaints made about horse dung,” says Dick. “This, coupled with the need forextra cleaning and washing of the streets, has led to me suggesting a nappy trial.

“The horses have been a regular feature of the city for many years and the pleasure they bring far outweighs the problems they cause – but we would like to find asolution to keep the streets clean.”

The horses’ owners have been invited to take part in the three month trial, which starts tomorrow (1 July), and is being funded by the city council. The trial is voluntary and will be carried out under the supervision of vets and the RSPCA.

Three of the four horse owners attended the approval hearing last Friday and were reported to be unhappy with the decision to trial the nappies.

“We are hopeful that the horse owners can persuaded to take part in this trial at no cost to them,” explains Dick. ” If their apprehensions are proved right, then this will be reported back to the council, but we won’t know unless we try it.”

Nappies are already being used in Great Yarmouth and the Austrian city of Vienna. However, animal rights protestors have claimed that “the bags restrict the horses’ movement and make them sore where they scrub against the skin.”