Campaign to protect forest animals

A HARD-hitting campaign aimed at cutting the number of animals killed or injured on New Forest roads has been launched by students in the district backed by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

A mascot called Pete the Pony has been created by teenagers at Brockenhurst College to highlight the need to drive safely.

It follows a sharp rise in the number of animal accidents in the Forest.

Last month the Verderers revealed almost 150 collisions involving ponies and other livestock had occurred since the start of the year, compared with 117 in the first 11 months of 2012.

They said a total of 86 animals had been killed – 15 more than in the same period last year.

Two of the most recent collisions at Burley Road, Wilverley, and Roundhill, Brook, resulted in two ponies being injured.

Two other collisions occurred on the B3708 at Black Gutter and Godshill but no injured animals were found.

Many of these accidents are caused by drivers flouting the 40mph speed limit on all unfenced roads in the Forest.

Hampshire Police and the National Park Authority (NPA) are among the organisations backing the college’s campaign, which also highlights the dangers of using your phone while driving.

First year Brockenhurst College student Jodie Hambling said: “It’s very important that students understand the dangers of texting when driving, especially in an area like the New Forest where the number of animals roaming freely are an added risk on the roads.”

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