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More than 22,300 people sign New Forest average speed camera petition in seven days

MORE than 22,300 people have signed a petition in just seven days calling for average speed cameras at New Forest accident blackspots.

Animal owner Sarah Weston – who last week told the A&T she was giving up commoning after her beloved pony Juma was killed – started the call for action. As of Wednesday it had gained 22,322 signatures.

She wants to raise the profile of the fight for average speed cameras to be installed at problem areas such as the B3078 Roger Penny Way, near Fritham, which has a 40mph limit.

Roger Penny Way speed enforcement (Hampshire Police)
Roger Penny Way speed enforcement (Hampshire Police)

There have been numerous recent fatalities involving livestock and cars on that route over the past few months.

The A&T last month revealed a man had to suspend automatic tweets using Google data to publish speeds there after motorists joked about deliberately flouting the limit.

Sarah’s petition stated: “During one 24-hour period there were 182 such instances including many at night at up to 75mph.

“At present we are reliant on one voluntary police officer carrying out speed checks on the whole of the Forest, including busy commuter routes, and we lose in excess of 50 animals every year.

“We need the authorities to install average speed cameras along the busiest routes. The authorities maintain that ‘raising awareness’ and ‘education’ are sufficient when clearly they are not. Please sign this petition!”

Pony death sign on Roger Penny Way
Pony death sign on Roger Penny Way

A similar petition on the New Forest District Council website has so far been signed by more than 2,000 people.

Earlier this month NFDC leader Cllr Edward Heron revealed he met with the Official Verderer Lord Manners and the new Hampshire police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, to discuss what measures could be taken.

However, while it is agreed among the partners – which include Hampshire police, Hampshire County Council, NFDC and the verderers – that a feasibility study into an average speed camera system will need to be undertaken, they do not agree on which body should fund them.

In the latest incidents reported by the verderers, two ponies had to be destroyed in road accidents over a fortnight.

A bay mare was put down last Saturday after being found in North Lane, near King’s Hat, Beaulieu, along with an injured chestnut filly, which survived. Agister Mike Lovell attended.

Last Thursday a donkey foal was uninjured in a collision at about 8pm on Main Road, East Boldre, also attended by Mr Lovell.

The previous week, a black and white filly had to be destroyed after it was involved in an incident on the B3055 on Saturday 21st August at about 11am. Agister Jonathan Gerrelli attended.

A donkey was reported to have been struck in a hit-and-run on the B3054 at Hatchet Moor, near East Boldre, on Wednesday 18th August at about 10.30am. Agister Robert Maton attended but nothing was found.

Sarah’s petition can be signed at www.change.org/p/new-forest-national-park-authority-stop-senseless-animal-deaths-on-the-new-forest

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