New Forest drivers warned to slow down in deadly winter months

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Drivers are warned to cut their speed whilst travelling through the New Forest as we enter the deadliest months of the year for Forest ponies.

More than 60 animals were killed last year and organisers of the #add3minutes campaign warn of a huge rise in the number of deaths over the winter months.

“It’s easy to get complacent and we know that you are three times more likely to kill or injure an animal in the Forest after the clocks go back than before,” said Nigel Matthews of the New Forest National Park Authority.

“So we’re appealing to local people who use these routes to please #add3minutes to their journeys in the darker nights and drive slowly for New Forest animals.”

Over the past five years, nearly three times as many animals are hit on average in November compared to August.

Ponies – which have right of way on roads through the New Forest – now wear reflective neck bands which make them more visible at night.

A number of speed-reduction schemes have been introduced since the 1990s, but some residents believe more needs to be done.

“The speed awareness signs and police camera vans across the forest may have helped slightly but they’re not enough,” one resident told WINOL.

“Something needs to change.”

New Forest district council leader Barry Rickman said: “We urge all agencies in the New Forest to promote safer speeds to all drivers, and to be aware of the special needs and long term protection of the wildlife that make this such a unique place.”

 

Photo: New Forest NPA