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‘The figures are truly shocking’: council backs road safety campaign following horse death statistics

The council of the county that has recorded more recent horse road deaths than anywhere in the country is backing the British Horse Society’s (BHS) safety campaign following the “truly shocking” statistics.

BHS figures show that 203 road collisions involving horses were reported in the southwest in 2019-20 – with 104 of these in Devon. Of the 104, there was one rider and 33 horse fatalities. In 2018-2019 239 incidents were reported in the county.

During a Devon County Council virtual meeting on 3 December, the council noted the figures, and councillor Rob Hannaford, of Exwick and St Thomas, Exeter, put forward a motion calling for the support for the BHS Dead Slow campaign.

“This is a very important campaign for a rural county like Devon, and the new accident figures for our local area are truly shocking,” he told H&H.

“For me this is a local and strategic issue, as a big area around the Exwick part of my division in Exeter is rural so I have active farms, stables, and riders who have to interact with the urban areas, and often negotiate busy roads and arterial routes.”

Councillor Hannaford said reporting all incidents is vital in order to better understand the rate of equine-related incidents across the country.



“Collating data in this way can really make a big difference to equine safety, and it allows us to lobby and advise MPs, road safety partnerships, the police and other highway organisations,” he said.

“My motion was referred unanimously to the council’s cabinet and I am confident that it will receive all-party support when it comes back for ratification in February. I hope we can achieve a two-stranded approach, with an overarching information and education campaign for all road users across the county, working in tandem with local communities, riders and horse owners to identify specific sites that need extra measures such as better signage and awareness raising to achieve real behaviour change.”

Riders are encouraged to report incidents on the BHS incidents website.

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