Fresh push to tackle animal accidents

hotline

Published Wednesday 30 November 2016

More than 30,000 animal emergency hotline cards are being sent to local people in an attempt to reduce animal deaths on New Forest roads.

Prompted by a suggestion from local resident Gilly Jones, these cards, produced by the New Forest National Park Authority, will be distributed by New Forest District Council with their parking clocks for the first time.

As well as encouraging people to drive carefully in the National Park, the cards provide drivers with the phone numbers they need in the event of an accident. It is the law to report all accidents involving a pony, cow, donkey, dog, pig or sheep to the police as soon as possible.

Gilly Jones from Burley, said: ‘I had been trying to think what was the best way to get a copy of the card to as many people in the NFDC area as possible, as it has such important information on. I suddenly realised that a time clock was the one thing most people carry in their car, so as it was too late to ask for the numbers to be actually printed on the time clock, including the card was the best idea.

‘I am so pleased that this idea has come together so quickly and would like to thank the District Council and National Park Authority for their support.’

The hotline cards are part of a range of activities undertaken by Forest organisations to increase drivers’ awareness of the animals roaming the Forest using, as far as possible, the latest evidence about where, when and why accidents occur.

This includes using changing road signs, reflective pony collars and a mobile police road safety camera, part funded by the Verderers, which last year caught almost 10,000 motorists speeding in the Forest. The Verderers also run a hit and run reward scheme, with £1,000 for information leading to the conviction of a driver who fails to report a collision.

Nigel Matthews, New Forest National Park Authority Head of Recreation Management and Learning, said: ‘We’re always interested to hear good ideas that will help reduce the number of commoners’ animals being killed on the Forest’s roads and this very timely suggestion has helped us reach many of the people who drive here most. The cards should help prevent drivers from becoming complacent and encourage them to drive safely’.

New Forest District Councillor Fran Carpenter, said: ‘If the thousands of people who buy NFDC parking clocks this year are reminded to drive more slowly and carefully in the presence of animals on forest roads, and know exactly who to contact in the event of an accident, this joint venture may protect some animals from unnecessary suffering.   

‘I hope the information cards will be kept in cars, just in case. It’s a very positive step, and I thank Gilly for her idea and all parties for coming together to make it happen.’

Other new initiatives this autumn include the Shared Forest campaign from the Commoners Defence Association (CDA), which aims to make commuters more aware of the importance of driving carefully in the Forest, particularly at night.

Drivers are asked to check that they have the current version of the hotline card, which has updated phone numbers for the Police non-emergency (101) and the Forestry Commission’s 24 hour number (0300 067 4600).

The hotline cards and ‘I go slow for ponies’ stickers are available from local businesses or information points, or download at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/animalaccidents.

What can you do?

  • 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:

If you witness or are involved in an accident involving a pony, donkey, cow, pig or sheep, call the Police (999 for an emergency or 101 if it’s not an emergency). Animal emergency hotline cards also give you the numbers to call if you see sick, injured or distressed animals. To stock the cards contact the New Forest National Park Authority at enquiries@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

-ends-

Notes to Photo Editor:

The New Forest National Park Authority's animal emergency hotline cards, which are being distributed with New Forest District Council parking clocks for the first time.

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

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.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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