Businesses unite to reduce animal accidents

shared forest group

Published Wednesday 2 August 2017

Organisations across the New Forest have signed up to a scheme to reduce the number of animal deaths on the area’s roads.

The Shared Forest business charter commits member organisations and businesses to helping their staff drive carefully and safely on unfenced roads through actions including:

  • Safe driving tips for staff
  • Extra time for drivers to make journeys
  • Stickers displayed on vehicles and hotline cards carried by drivers
  • Responding promptly to feedback on driving from other road users.

Last year saw 63 animals killed by vehicles in the New Forest, a slight increase on the year before. This business-led charter aims to build upon existing measures such as changing signs and mobile speed cameras to prompt reductions in accident rates.

This is part of the Shared Forest project, which aims to increase public awareness of commoning; both as a modern farming system and as an important part of the New Forest’s cultural heritage. It is part of the £4.5m Heritage Lottery funded Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme.

The business charter was launched this summer by a partnership of major Forest organisations:

  • Brockenhurst College
  • HH & DE Drew Ltd (New Milton Sand and Ballast)
  • New Forest District Council
  • New Forest National Park Authority
  • Pennyfarthing Homes
  • Ramboll UK.

Jo Ivey, Shared Forest project manager, said: ‘The aim of the group is to increase drivers’ awareness of the special care needed when using the unfenced roads in the New Forest.

‘It is each driver’s responsibility to watch out for and drive carefully round any animal on or close to the road.

‘By increasing the care that drivers take when crossing the New Forest we hope to reduce the number animals killed and injured on our roads and the distress it causes to their owners and the drivers of the vehicles involved.’

Mark Adams, Executive Chairman of Pennyfarthing Homes, said: 'Pennyfarthing is delighted to be one of the founding members of the group. Local businesses and their employees use the roads across the Forest every day and we have a responsibility to help care for this very special part of the country. Accidents involving commoners' animals not only cause distress and suffering to them and their owners, they are traumatic for the driver and costly to us as employers.'

If your business would like to sign up to the Shared Forest charter then visit www.newforestcommoners.com.

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Notes to photo editor:

Founding members of the Shared Forest business partnership at the launch of the scheme at the New Forest Show 2017.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk@heritagelottery @HLFSouthEast

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