Animal deaths on Forest roads reach a new ‘low’

Published Wednesday 21 January 2009

A campaign to encourage people to drive safely in the New Forest seems to have had the desired outcome.

Animal deaths resulting from accidents on unfenced Forest roads are at their lowest, since recording began in 1956.

A year-long campaign by top Forest organisations has reduced the deaths of commoners’ animals to 73 in 2008 from 90 in 2007 and 87 in 2006.

The New Forest National Park Authority, Verderers, Forestry Commission, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council, and Police have worked together on a number of different initiatives; targeting speed, highlighting animal accident hot spots, raising driver awareness and reporting animal accidents.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor and Recreation Services at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘There is no single initiative that has reduced animal accidents, it has been a combination of a wide range of initiatives including animal accident hotline cards, car stickers, enforcement notices, publicity, reflective collars, graphic posters, verge clearance, safety information on the County Council’s website and portable signs that are placed at the site of an accident.’

‘We won’t be complacent, 73 animal deaths is still too many but we have shown that by working together we can make a difference to save animals lives.’

‘Most accidents occur at night, drivers need to be careful especially when blinded by oncoming traffic.  When a pony is near the road, a driver should slow down and give it a wide berth, it could step out onto the road at any time.’

Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre added: ‘We would like to thank all the organisations that have worked with us, to help lower the number of deaths of commoning animals on Forest roads.

‘Animal accidents are a serious issue, the Agisters work long hard hours often in distressing circumstances, especially when an accident goes unreported. Although we are glad to see a reduction in animal deaths, we still want to remind people to drive sensibly and slow down when they pass Forest livestock.’

If you are unsure of what to do if you witness or are in an accident involving a pony, donkey, cow, pig or sheep and would like an animal accident hotline card telling you who to call, or you would like a car sticker that says ‘I slow down for ponies’ email the New Forest National Park Authority at


Media Contact:
Karen Evans
Communications Officer
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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