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Letter: Is it time to ration access to the New Forest?

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SIR – In 1939, at the age of seven years, the impending World War Two caused my father’s work to take him, and thus us as a family, to the Midland’s city of Coventry.

My enforced absence from the southern counties of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire over the next seven years was an unhappy period. Perhaps because of this I feel very strongly about the future of the New Forest as, obviously, do a number of your readers.

Recent correspondence has emphasised overall concern with the inevitable increase in visitor numbers and animal deaths. This concern is timely as various factors are at work which will ensure that pressure on the region increases.

Cars parked on verges in the New Forest
Cars parked on verges in the New Forest

Having experience of rationing during the war years, I know how intolerable it can become; quite how one would ration access to the national park area I do not know, but I fear that such an action will become a necessity if our Forest is to survive in its present state.

The question of motor vehicle speed and animal deaths is, hopefully, more easily addressed. Sadly, as a retired police office, I fear that our emasculated police force will never have the manpower necessary to enforce the very necessary 40mph speed limit.

Even had they the manpower, there are now so many calls on their time that policing the Forest would be low on the list.

So why not follow the example of various conurbations plagued with speeding cars; set up small volunteer groups equipped and trained by the police to provide a visible deterrent with radar guns at speeding hotspots?

Back that up by warning notices on the access roads of “Animal deaths: plain clothes speed checks in force”. Such notices are already being used for other warnings and cost little.

We have the winter when visitor numbers will be less but next summer, with foreign travel still curtailed, will be another matter.

Roy Harvey,

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