Dedicated resource to reduce animal accidents on roads in the New Forest.

animal accident car

Published Wednesday 1 October 2014

Joint press release by the Commoners Defence Association, Verderers and Hampshire Constabulary.

From October 2014 one of Hampshire Constabulary’s speed enforcement officers who’s dedicated to the New Forest, will be using new technology, effective at night, to concentrate on reducing animal related accidents as the nights become longer.

Concerned at the number of commoners’ livestock killed or injured on the unfenced roads across the Forest, the New Forest Commoners’ Defence Association has developed a project in partnership with the New Forest Verderers and Agisters and Hampshire Police to highlight the dangers on key routes through the forest, especially at dusk and dawn.

The speed enforcement officer will primarily work on routes which have been identified due to human casualties or animal deaths in the past. In 2013, 72 animals were killed in road traffic collisions in the New Forest, a further 32 were injured.

It’s hoped that the number of driver casualties and animals that are killed or injured will be reduced this year with the introduction of this new initiative.

Alongside speed enforcement Hampshire Constabulary will:

  • Address the issue during driver awareness training sessions
  • Continue to use the Country Watch exhibition trailer to display animal accident information
  • Distribute questionnaires to drivers who have been involved in accidents.

The speed enforcement officer who will be dedicated to accident hot spots in the New Forest said: ‘I’m delighted that by working in partnership with the Commoners’ Defence Association, Verderers and Agisters we are able to provide a dedicated resource to tackle this serious issue in the New Forest.’

Jonathan Gerrelli, Head Agister and a Commoner, said: ‘Autumn is an especially important time of year as it gets dark earlier and some drivers may not realise that the risk of accidents involving animals on rural roads will increase because of that.’

What can you do?

Drivers can avoid collisions involving animals on roads in the New Forest by:

  • Taking note of warning signs Keeping your speed down – the speed limit is 40mph for a reason in areas like the New Forest.
  • Being prepared to reduce your speed according to the visibility
  • Being especially aware at dusk and dawn and keeping an eye out for more than one animal crossing the road at a time
  • Using headlights on high beam if there is no oncoming traffic and dipping them quickly when oncoming traffic appears.

Who to call

If you see an animal which looks ill, is injured, or in distress you should report it as soon as possible, giving: a clear description of the animal, what you think may be wrong with it, where you saw it and at what time. During working hours you should telephone the Verderers' Office on 02380 282052.

If you are unable to obtain a reply, please try the Forestry Commission on 02380 283141. The Forestry Commission line is answered 24 hours a day.

If you don't get an answer from either of these numbers and the situation is urgent, please call the Police on either 999 or 08450 454545 and ask the call taker to contact an Agister.


Media contacts

This press release is issued jointly by:

The New Forest Commoners Defence Association. Contact Dr Graham Ferris (Chairman) 01590 682002 and 07900 58234

Hampshire Police. Contact Jim Pusey, Media Relations, 01962 875017

New Forest Verderers and Agisters. Contact Ms Sue Westwood (Clerk to the Verderers) 02380 28205.

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