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86 drivers stopped in police campaign Operation Mountie at animal accident hotspot Roger Penny Way

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A JOINT campaign to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding in the New Forest saw over 80 motorists stopped on a stretch of road notorious for animal accidents.

The New Forest heart neighbourhood team joined forces with Hampshire and Thames Valley roads policing unit to reduce the number of animal collisions and deaths on rural roads. It was supported by a number of partners including Forestry England and the national park authority.

Between 1st November 2021 and 1st February Operation Mountie saw enforcement action taken on Roger Penny Way, with 86 vehicles in total stopped for speeding offences. Sixteen of those received tickets for speeding and invalid licences and a further 69 motorists received educational advice from partners agencies who form the New Forest Animal Group.

Sixteen drivers were given tickets (photo: Hampshire Constabulary)
Sixteen drivers were given tickets (photo: Hampshire Constabulary)

Three vehicles were seized due to having no insurance or the person behind the wheel not having a valid driving licence.

The operation, which was supported by the safer roads unit mobile camera team and resulted in a further 112 fixed penalty notices being issued for speeding offences along Roger Penny Way, the B0379 and on the A31 between Stoney Cross and Emery Down.

Sgt Dave Hazlett of Hampshire and Thames Valley Police’s road safety unit said: "Operation Mountie engaged with several hundred motorists over the past three months, seeking to educate them on the dangers of exceeding the speed limit and taking robust enforcement action where necessary. This is a serious and emotive issue which has huge significance for the local community. We are committed to ensuring that the New Forest remains a safe place for animals to roam freely, while reducing the number of serious collisions."

Police stopped and spoke to more than 80 motorists (photo: Hamsphire Constabulary)
Police stopped and spoke to more than 80 motorists (photo: Hamsphire Constabulary)

Community manager for Forestry England, Charlotte Belcher, added: "Anyone driving on forest roads at this time of year needs to take special care and drive to the conditions. Animals can be on or near the road at any time and visibility is often poor. On these unfenced roads always expect the unexpected and be prepared to stop for animals."

As previously reported in the A&T, Hampshire County Council is to undertake a feasibility study looking at the potential for average speed cameras on Roger Penny Way following months of public pressure for action. Sarah Weston whose pony Juma suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a car on the B3078 set up a petition for cameras which was signed by more than 63,000 people.

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