After a spate of incidents involving horses escaping onto main roads, the Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner and the British Horse Society (BHS) have come together to try to tackle fly-grazing in the area.
Commissioner David Lloyd has joined local authorities, police, the National Farmers’ Union, charities, landowners and a local MP to decide how to deal with the problem.
Last month 36 stakeholders met to discuss the issues and gain an understanding of the current legislation.
“This is a real problem in Hertfordshire, which has a large concentration of busy major highways running adjacent to land which is used for fly-grazing,” said Mr Lloyd.
“In my position as police and crime commissioner I have a unique overview of these types of multi-agency issues and my deputy, David Gibson, is taking forward this project on my behalf, ensuring that it is resolved and not left on the ‘too difficult’ pile again.”
One of the problem areas discussed in the November meeting was the A414 between Hatfield and St Albans where many motorists have been affected by long delays, as police try to round up stray horses or because an animal has been hit.
BHS county chair Lynn Myland said: “We heard that police have to close the roads, attempt to catch the horses and trace the owners. Quite often no-one comes forward to claim ownership. This takes hours of police time and can be stressful for all concerned, especially for a driver who has hit a horse.
“There were some very constructive debates and it was very positive to hear so many key people advising on a way forward. The seminar gave the opportunity to network and engage in what can be a very complex issue.
“The BHS in Hertfordshire has developed a draft procedure which endeavours to provide clear roles and responsibilities for agencies and land owners. It will also give advice to the public about who to contact when they come across this very stressful, and often dangerous, situation.”
Ms Myland is now working with county councillor Dreda Gordon and district councillor Sue Featherstone on raising awareness of the issue and for helping the BHS procedure to be adopted in Hertfordshire.
Anyone who wishes to be involved can contact Lynn on firstname.lastname@example.org