Police and council chiefs agree to 'progress' average speed cameras on B3078 Roger Penny Way
TALKS between New Forest leaders have produced a "clear commitment" to funding plans for average speed cameras to tackle animals deaths on one of the national park's worst accident routes.
Hampshire Police, New Forest district and Hampshire county councils, the national park and the verderers have agreed to "further progress" work already carried out by the Commoners Defence Association on the B3078 Roger Penny Way.
NFDC leader Cllr Heron said: “Since the petition calling for average speed cameras, I have had conversations with our partner organisations, local people, and landowners and we are making progress on plans to address speeding on Roger Penny Way.
"Of course, we all recognise this is a high priority, but it is an unfortunate reality of work of this nature that the sticking point has been money.
"Having brought us all together, there is now the clear commitment to fund this project and the full support of partners to take forward this important work."
The next step is to outline technical requirements as well as legal, ecological and environmental issues raised by the area's national environmental and landscape designations.
Cllr Heron's statement followed a meeting last week that included local Chief Inspector Helen Andrews, Cllr Heron, Official Verderer Lord Manners and Hampshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways operations, Cllr Russell Oppenheimer.
It follows months of public pressure for action, including by Sarah Weston whose pony, Juma, suffering fatal injuries in a collision with a car on the B3078 last August.
Her petition for cameras was signed by more than 63,000 people and backed by fellow commoner Gilly Jones, spokesperson for the New Forest Roads Awareness group.
However, there has been disagreement between authorities over who should fund cameras on the route – throwing the the plans into doubt.
Both Ms Weston and Ms Jones appeared at last week’s meeting and showed videos about why New Forest livestock must be protected from speeding vehicles.
Cllr Oppenheimer added: "Forest animal deaths are highly distressing. I agree with the local elected leadership and with the local community that we need to reduce the number of animal deaths caused by motor vehicles.
"Hampshire County Council will now work closely with local partners on a feasibility study looking at the potential for average speed cameras on this stretch of road at Roger Penny Way.
"In the meantime I urge all drivers to keep their speed below the limit and drive with appropriate caution throughout the New Forest."
Hampshire police and crime commissioner Donna Jones said: "I am pleased to be supporting the cost of undertaking the feasibility report required to consider all options to make Roger Penny Way safe and prevent more animals from harm and injury."