Reflective collars fitted to cows on Minchinhampton common

Cows on Minchinhampton Common
Image caption About 500 cattle wander the commons, which are not fenced off from the road

A pilot project to fit cows released on to commons in Gloucestershire with reflective collars, to try to stop them being hit by cars, has begun.

About 500 cattle have been released to graze on Minchinhampton, Selsley and Rodborough commons, near Stroud, in an annual event known as marking day.

Two types of collar are being trialled. If successful, all the animals will be fitted with them later in the year.

In the past two years, 17 cows have been hit by cars.

Five died last year.

The land they graze on is criss-crossed by roads, which are not fenced off.

The scheme, costing about £800, has been funded by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl and the common graziers, who exercise ancient rights to graze cattle on the land.

'No road sense'

"Fortunately there have not been any serious injuries to people over the last few years but that is only a matter of time," said Mr Surl.

"As the traffic flows have increased over the last few years so have the collisions.

"The collars will hopefully give motorists the warning they need to avoid these accidents."

Mr Surl said two different types of collars would be tested to see which were the most resilient and effective.

The road safety initiative could then be rolled out at a cost of up to £3,000.

Edwin Draper, who farms at Minchinhampton, said: "People don't realise the cows will walk straight in front of them, they don't have any road sense.

"We think if they have some reflective collars on them maybe they'll see them a bit sooner and slow down a little bit."

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