Rural organisation welcomes move to combat fly-grazers

Stacy Humphrys

Stacy Humphrys - Credit: Archant

An organisation representing Cambridgeshire land owners has welcomed a move to cut the amount of time it takes to remove horses being fly-grazed illegally.

Thomas Allen, from Soham

Thomas Allen, from Soham - Credit: Archant

Fly-grazing is the act of leaving horses on someone else’s land without permission and, currently, landowners have to wait 14 days before they can act.

But, under a new bill being put forward in parliament by MP Julian Sturdy, and backed by the CLA, the amount of time could be cut to four days.

On Christmas Eve 2012, 23-year-old Thomas Allen, from Soham, was driving along the westbound carriageway of the A14 at Sproughton, near Ipswich, when his car collided with one of five horses which had wandered on to the dual carriageway.

He was taken to Ipswich Hospital but died on Christmas Day.

Six others were also injured, three horses died and four vehicles were damaged in the carnage caused by the incident.

Owner of the horses, Stacy Humphrys, of West Meadows, Ipswich, admitted causing a public nuisance by allowing his horses to stray on to the A14 during December 2012.

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When Humphrys appeared in court, the judge heard that his horses, which were being fly-grazed, had repeatedly strayed onto the road during December.

The CLA hopes the new bill will give landowners the power to act sooner to see horses removed from their land.

CLA Eastern regional director, Nicola Currie said: “This is an important breakthrough for the CLA’s ongoing work to tackle the growing problem of fly grazing.

“It is vital that landowners across the eastern region have the power to act quickly and in the best interest of the welfare of these animals.”

The bill will now be debated by MPs at committee stage in the coming weeks and the CLA will be working with Julian Sturdy MP on amendments to ensure the bill passes into law.