ANIMAL deaths in the Forest will not be eliminated or much reduced by rigid enforcement of the forty mile an hour speed limit, or by lowering it to thirty.

Where we are mixing animals and traffic, accidents are bound to happen. Nobody wants them to but they will.

Accidents are also bound to involve proportionately greater numbers of locals than visitors or through traffic.

Nobody would be very surprised if I told them that the majority of people caught speeding or involved in accidents in Southampton came from Southampton, so why should it be different here?

There is nothing magic about keeping under forty. I frequently follow cars along the Southampton Road, the drivers of which meticulously observe the limit, but they are also quite happy to pass within inches of ponies at the side of the road.

No attempt is made to slow down in response to the presence of the animals, nor to pull over to give them a wide berth.

I suspect such drivers would fail to notice deer crossing their path until they were right in front of them, because they are clearly not scanning the ground to the sides of the road.

Distracted visitors driving very slowly and obviously not concentrating on what they are doing, while certainly enjoying the Forest, don't help either.

At night, highly reflective signs discourage the use of main beam, and many people thus reduce their vision by remaining on dipped lights even in the absence of approaching traffic.

There is no attempt made to educate drivers about the demands of Forest driving except to exhort them to drive carefully, whatever that may mean, and stay under forty.

If we want to reduce animal deaths, then I believe the alternatives are to close or fence the roads.

We must also reduce the number of animals in the Forest, particularly deer, educate drivers in coping with hazards in general and those in the Forest in particular, or a combination of the three.