Ponies don’t dent they die

Published Monday 31 October 2011

Drivers along the B3054 (between Lymington and Dibden Purlieu) are being reminded to drive carefully and avoid New Forest ponies thanks to a school boy’s winning slogan.

Oliver Smith’s ‘Ponies don’t dent they die’ was chosen from 200 entrants to a recent ‘Saving ponies through art’ competition which aimed to get young people involved in creating clear messages to drivers across the New Forest.

Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The signs between Lymington and Dibden Purlieu are part of a pilot scheme. The messages on the bottom of the signs change regularly depending on the time of year.

‘The B3054 has one of the highest animal accident rates in the New Forest, with an average of 30 accidents (14 animal deaths) in recent years. The accidents often take place at night and increase in November and December as the nights draw in. I hope this new sign will remind drivers that they need to be ready to stop when they see ponies and cattle beside, or on the road.’

Rick Manley, Chairman of The New Forest Trust which ran the competition on behalf of the Animal Accident Reduction Group*, said: ‘This competition has helped young people to engage with some of our work across the New Forest and we hope it has allowed them to explore, through their designs, ways of protecting our animals and our local environment. Well done to Oliver for coming up with such a powerful slogan.’

Oliver Smith (13 years old) from Bournemouth Collegiate School who designed the winning slogan, said: ‘I came up with the slogan when I thought about what happens to ponies and drivers during a crash. When I went to the New Forest Show in the summer I was shocked at how fast some people were driving with ponies so close by. It is worrying to think that if a pony attempted to cross the road it would have little chance of survival if it was hit by a speeding car.’

In 2010 there were 65 animal deaths on New Forest roads, the lowest since records began in 1956.


Notes to Editors:
The New Forest Trust
The New Forest Trust was formed in 2003 with one simple aim- to secure the wellbeing of The New Forest for those who live in it and for those who love it, now and in the future.

The New Forest Trust supports activities and organisations who strive to conserve the flora, fauna and commoning practices of this special area.

The Trust aims to raise money which helps in practical ways; helping to improve the public’s understanding of the essential relationship between conservation and the unique livestock, woodland and open forest husbandry methods employed by people who live and work in The New Forest.

Animal Accident Reduction Group
The New Forest Park Authority helps coordinate the Animal Accident Reduction Group, which meets twice a year to review recent accident records and consider what more can be done about them. The group is attended by representatives from the New Forest National Park Authority, the Verderers/Agisters, New Forest District Council, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Forestry Commission, The New Forest Trust and the Commoners Defence Association.

Driving tips:

  • Be ready to stop - ponies may step out even when they’ve seen you approaching
  • Drive slowly, especially at night and when other cars are approaching with their headlights on
  • Give animals grazing by the side of the road a wide berth
  • Take extra care when there are animals on the verges on both sides of the road – they may cross to join their friends.
  • Remember that deer easily jump the fences alongside roads like the A337, A31 and A35 and when there is one deer more will usually follow
  • The faster you are going, the greater the damage will be to the animal, your car and your passengers - start your journey early so you don’t have to hurry.

If you witness an accident:

  • Call 999 in an emergency or 0845 045 4545 in a non-emergency to report any road traffic accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, sheep, dog or deer. Alternatively ring the Verderers’ Office during normal working hours on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday 9am-5 pm) or the Forestry Commission on 023 8028 3141 (24 hours) to report sick or injured commoning animals.

Be prepared:

  • Carry an animal accident hotline card, which tells you who to call, and display an ‘I go slow for ponies’ car sticker.
  • Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/animal_accident_help or call 01590 646600 for more information on how to get a card and sticker.

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper
The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:
• Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Media Contact:
Karen Evans-McDaid, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans-mcdaid@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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