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Stray horses ‘putting lives in danger’
CITY of York Council has been accused of risking the lives of motorists after a scheme to tackle the problem of stray horses was delayed.
There have been three incidents of stray horses walking into the paths of moving cars on York’s roads already this year, and a report about the issue is set to go before the council’s cabinet meeting in November.
The council’s Community Safety Overview and Scrutiny Committee received a verbal report on the latest plans to deal with stray horses at a meeting on Tuesday, which revealed the authority was examining methods used by other councils.
Steve Waddington, assistant director of housing and community safety, told the meeting: “There has been some progress as to the details on how it will be done. We’re talking to land owners and other people in the council.
“This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. We need to know of different systems of work from talking to the community and real hardcore enforcement.”
The meeting heard that measures used by Durham, Wakefield and Doncaster councils were unsuitable to be adopted wholesale, but elements would be selected and tried out in York.
Mr Waddington said: “We’re working with partners, police, owners of the horses, and the RSPCA, and the National Farmers Union, to look to put together a package which will identify options for alternative grazing land, options on how we work with owners to reduce the number of horses generally, and a costed enforcement policy. That, ultimately, would result in seizure of the horses.
“That would be what will be set out in the report and we’re still working through options for land and how we charge for that. It won’t be a case of council or third party providing land free of charge. There will be payment expected to be made for that.”
However, the work is still ongoing, leading to criticism of the time being taken to tackle the issue.
Independent Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters said the report was originally due to go to cabinet in September, and he also doubted it would now go to November’s meeting, meaning motorists would be exposed to further danger over the dark winter months.
“The council is playing Russian roulette with drivers’ lives,” he claimed.