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Letters: Disguise speed cameras as New Forest ponies to catch drivers

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SIR – Being born and raised in the New Forest (Brockenhurst) some 70 years ago and never moving away from the area, it seems to me you are brought up with all the wildlife, not just ponies and cattle.

My parents taught us to have respect for the Forest and its inhabitants, even when we learnt to drive and have cars. Perhaps I have been lucky or careful, who knows, but I have not hit any ponies or cattle, thank goodness. But accidents do and can happen, of course.

I have seen many changes in the Forest in my time; one of the greatest is the amount of development in the area. This, of course, brings many more people and many more cars and vehicles of all types, and all larger and faster.

I have also noticed since I have been driving, some 49-50 years, the attitude of some – well, a lot, actually – drivers on the Forest roads, even in the villages.

Animal accidents have continued over the years and will carry on doing so in my opinion unless something drastic is done.

Talk of more signs is not the answer as they not only spoil the outlook of the Forest, but work for people who already abide to the rules. They do not stop arrogant drivers who are going to speed and overtake anywhere in the forest even on bends and blind spots.

These drivers overtake the drivers who are driving under or to the speed limit and they will do this whatever the speed limit is.

Fencing all small roads has been considered but again this will spoil the look of the Forest and it will no longer be the Forest of today and the past, as we have known it. The future outlook will be willows, brambles, birch and scrub all along the side of all the roads – yuck.

If only the law and rules for the Forest and its wildlife could be changed: for example, mobile cameras disguised as ponies, cattle, sheep, pigs, logs and bushes. These could be moved daily or even twice daily, double points on licence given, and double fines if caught on camera for endangering animals, with on the spot fines so that there is no extra pressure on courts.

I for one would gladly volunteer to move the cameras and I am sure others who think the same as me would volunteer. We would probably need help from people with higher profiles in the area so that everyone listens.

This butchery has to stop. So please remember, I saw this in a brochure of Maritime Haulage Company: my aim is to stay under the speed limit and not try to achieve it.

My motto is: “Hit those harder who hit our animals hard.”

Many things have been tried. Let’s see if we can try something different. If we do not, we will lose our Forest as we know it – let alone as we knew it when we were young and as our parents before us knew it.

The future of the Forest lies in your hands. Please do not let it be destroyed.

Richard Parsons

Wentwood Gardens,

New Milton.

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