Figures give ‘hope for the future’ in the New ForestPUBLISHED ON: 20 DECEMBER 2017
A new campaign to cut the number of New Forest animals killed or injured on the roads in the winter months has coincided with casualties reducing by half.
15 animals were killed or injured between 1 November and 16 December 2017, compared to the same period in 2016 (31 animals injured or killed).
While campaigners are thanking drivers for taking extra care, they say even a single injury is one too many and are appealing to drivers to slow down and to sign up to the #add3minutes campaign pledge.
Nearly 100 free-roaming animals were killed or injured in the New Forest in 2016. A quarter of these – 25 animals – were killed or injured on just four key routes in the evenings in the two months after the clocks go back. About three quarters of the accidents involved local drivers.
New Forest commoners, who own the animals, and organisations joined together to create the #add3minutes campaign to appeal to local drivers to slow down during the winter months, to prevent the usual huge rise in animal deaths and injuries in the longer nights.
The #add3minutes campaign includes new temporary warning signs on key roads, the police mobile speed camera van out in the Forest, campaign messaging on bin lorries, social media activity and posters in local businesses. 20 of the Forest’s largest employers have signed up to the campaign to encourage awareness among their staff.
Tony Hockley, Chairman of the Commoners Defence Association said: ‘After the awful accident rate of last winter it is a relief to see things getting better. People allow their animals to roam the New Forest in order to keep it the way everyone loves it, making it such special place.
‘This year local organisations came together to emphasise how very small changes can make a big difference. We have all pushed very hard to get the simple winter message of #add3minutes across. Just a few minutes on a Forest commute makes it a lot safer in the winter darkness.
‘Hopefully this is an early sign of success. Every animal matters to its owners, and every accident makes it harder for us to take the decision to allow them to graze the New Forest for everyone’s benefit. We’re hugely grateful to everyone helping make this a better winter for the New Forest. This gives us real hope for the future of the New Forest.
‘Thank you to everyone who has pledged to #add3minutes to their journey this winter, but every animal is a great loss to their owner and Forest. So please continue to drive safely this winter and pledge to #add3minutes to your journeys.’
The campaign runs throughout winter and drivers are asked to sign the online petition and pledge to #add3minutes to their commute across the Forest at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/add3minutes.
The four main routes where accidents occur are:
Lymington – Beaulieu – Dibden Purlieu
Brockenhurst – Sway
Burley – Picket Post
Cadnam – Godshill.
Notes to photo editor
New Forest commoners join representatives of local organisations at Beaulieu Road Sale Yard to appeal to local drivers to slow down throughout the winter.
Notes to editors
The organisations involved in the Animal Accident Reduction Group are:
The Commoners Defence Association and Shared Forest project; the Verderers; New Forest National Park Authority; Forestry Commission; New Forest District Council; Hampshire County Council; Hampshire Constabulary; New Forest Association; New Forest Trust; and British Deer Society.
The 10 local employers who have signed up to the Shared Forest business partnership project are:
HH & DE Drew Ltd (New Milton Sand and Ballast)
New Forest District Council
New Forest National Park Authority
G Farwell Ltd
TJR Plumbing and Heating Services
New Forest Minibus Tours
Fairweathers Garden Centre
Seadown Veterinary Group
Vesper Conservation & Ecology Ltd
R.A.D. Engineering Ltd
Moore Blatch LLP
Forestry Commission (New Forest)
TJ Transport Ltd.
Our Past, Our Future
The Shared Forest project is part of the Our Past, Our Future a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, 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.
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.
Beki Mole, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639