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With the show season for horses and ponies well underway, there is an increase in the number of horse boxes using motorways and trunk roads throughout England.

For the second year running the Highways Agency, which manages and operates motorways and trunk roads in England, are the main sponsors for the National Pony Society’s Championships being held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire on 1-3 August.

The Highways Agency is also urging drivers to check the roadworthiness of their horseboxes and plan to move your horse safely by making sure that animals are secure and comfortable while they are being transported.

To help drivers of horseboxes, caravans and trailers to have safer and more reliable journeys, the Highways Agency has recently launched a new information programme called “Fit to Tow”. Drivers can find more information on the Highways Agency’s website at

Barry Westwood, Highways Agency network performance manager for the South East, said:

“As the show season is now underway, we are urging people not to take their horseboxes out on the road without a proper maintenance check. It’s especially important if your horsebox has been left standing for most of the year. With a simple once-over before you set off, you could avoid breaking down. Breaking down would not only delay your journey, but it could mean an uncomfortable wait for you and your animals and cause delay to other road users as well.”

Dietrich Von Schweinitz, of Southern Hills Equine Veterinary Clinic in Surrey, said:
“To keep horses safe and calm on long journeys, they should be restrained safely with protective headgear and bandages, although this may not be appropriate for foals and unhandled stock.

“Owners should get their horses accustomed to travelling by taking them on short journeys before venturing on long journeys. People should plan their journeys, allowing extra time for any problems that may occur. Finally, they should make sure their horsebox is safe and reliable. Don’t take chances with your horse.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Real -time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is now available:
• From our new Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at To tune into the DAB service, simply press the `scan` button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach `Traffic Radio`.
• On the internet at
• By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).
3. Before using a mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.
4. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary)

Safe driving at roadworks

During 2006 two workers were killed and 19 seriously injured in the course of their work on Highways Agency roads.

For the safety of all road users and roadworkers, when you are approaching roadworks:

• Keep within the speed limit – it is there for your safety.
• Get into the correct lane in good time – don’t keep switching.
• Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.
• Be alert for works’ traffic leaving or entering roadworks.
• Keep a safe distance – there could be queues in front.
• Observe all signs – they are there to help you.

Issued by the Highways Agency South East Press Office.
For further information please contact the Press and PR Officers Kate Woods on 01306 878110; or Martin Deller on 01306 878348;

Out of hours the Highways Agency Duty Press Officer can be contacted by phoning 020 7081 7443

Added on: 01 Aug 2007

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