Signs to educate public on livestock feeding risks in the New Forest
SIGNS warning about the dangers of feeding ponies are set to be installed at strategic locations across the New Forest.
The trial initiative, which has been backed by the verderers, comes weeks after reports that one pony died and another was taken seriously ill after eating carrots and a pie left out by visitors.
Under plans revealed at a recent meeting of the Verderers' Court, a combination of fixed signs, electronic messaging boards and A-boards could be rolled out at tourist hotspots to educate the public.
Debating the issue, the verderers agreed that whilst a “small minority” of people simply did not care about the welfare of animals, most feeding incidents came about as a result of ignorance.
A report of the meeting concluded: “Signs urbanise the landscape, but so does poor behaviour. The impact signage has on the Forest is probably less than that of poor behaviour caused by lack of information.”
As part of the trial more intrusive signs with “robust messages” will be installed and the impacts monitored, with changes made around the seasons and level of risk.
It was also suggested electronic signage at the main entrance points to the Forest could be helpful and movable A-boards could be utilised.
A working party of representatives from the verderers, Forestry England and the Commoners' Defence Association will now consider how and where new signage should be placed.