There have been several letters in the Express recently regarding the grazing of horses on Heath Common.
Accordingly, and to place the facts on record, we would wish to state the following points:
The Common is leased to Wakefield MDC, and is therefore controlled by the Countryside Service of Wakefield Council. The horses are licensed by them to graze on Heath Common, albeit by being permanently tethered, which while not being illegal could, in this day and age, well be considered cruel and immoral.
When the licensing system was developed, it was published in the Express that 30 horses were to be allowed on Heath Common (and 10 on Warmfield Common), and that any over this number, or any not chipped or passported, would be removed.
As a Parish Council we feel that while tethering is not the most humane way to control horses, they are, in general, well looked after, and the situation is, therefore, reluctantly accepted.
However, when the numbers exceed 30 the situation becomes unsatisfactory in terms of public safety and horse welfare, to say nothing of the damage done to the flora and fauna on Heath Common.
In addition, when horses become loose, for whatever reason, there is also a major issue of road safety.
We are constantly in liaison with WMDC in terms of the number of horses on the Common, as this can rise to well over 40 when foals are included.
Recently, a mare in foal was killed on Normanton Bypass, and it was extremely fortuitous that there were no serious human injuries.
This is why the police removed two horses which had been unsafely tethered.
It is now a legal requirement for all horses to be chipped or passported, and as a parish council we continually press WMDC to regularly check that all the horses licensed to be on Heath Common meet this criteria.
Unless this issue is continually under control the threat of further accidents will unfortunately remain.
Warmfield-cum-Heath Parish Council