A NEW Forest road that is infamous for accidents involving animals is to be part of a new trial.

Off-road salt licks have been put place on the B3078 Roger Penny Way, which aims to move grazing animals away from the road.

The free-roaming animals are owned by commoners who have the right to let their livestock graze the New Forest.

A statement from the New Forest Commoners Defence Association (NFCDA) said: “During the colder months, animals (ponies, donkeys and cattle) are drawn to the road by salt and grit spreading, where they then lick the salt off the road surface. It is hoped that this trial will keep animals off and away from the road by providing a safer alternative in a more natural habitat.”

Salisbury Journal:

The 17 new salt licks have been placed around 135 meters back from the road in open-top containers.

The salt is in big lumps to make sure it does not spill onto the ground and once the weather improves the containers will be removed.

New Forest commoner and NFCDA committee member Bill Howells, who instigated this initiative, said: “I would like to thank all the relevant organisations who have given us consent to trial the salt licks, hopefully it will make a difference to animal behaviour and accident numbers.”

A number of animal accidents have occurred on the B3078. The NFCDA is still urging motorists to drive to the conditions and “expect the unexpected” when travelling on these roads.

The initiative has been supported by organisations in the Forest. A spokesperson for the Verderers said: “The Verderers support the salt lick trial but it will be a while before we can begin to judge if it is effective.”

Salisbury Journal:

The New Forest National Park Authority’s executive director, Steve Avery, added: “We fully support this trial seeking to reduce animal accident numbers across the unfenced roads in the Forest.

"The New Forest Animal Accident Reduction Group, of which we are a member, operates a number of initiatives and is always looking for new ideas. Animals are habitual creatures so the change in their behaviour will not be instant. This means that animals will still be on the road day and night and we appeal to people to drive to the conditions and always be prepared to stop.

"With major road closures on the Forest over the next few months we ask drivers to follow the official detours and not deviate onto unfenced roads to get to their destination.”

Last year, New Forest District Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire agreed to support a feasibility study after a petition calling for an an average speed camera along the B3078, which was started by commoner Gilly Jones on behalf of New Forest Roads Awareness after a series of animal deaths in December 2020 and January 2021. Work is still ongoing.

New Forest Roads Awareness have also been working with the National Park and the police as part of Operation Mountie – conducting regular speeding operations on that road.

Gilly says this “cohesive working” has helped raise the profile of animal accidents.

She said the trial was “brilliant” and speaking on behalf of the roads awareness group, added: “I know how hard the CDA have worked to get this in place. It is not going to be an instant fix and we don’t want people to think that. Anything we can do to reduce the amount of animal accidents all power to it.”

If you do have an accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep you are required by law to report it to the police by ringing 999 as soon as possible.


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