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Letter: New Forest must not be changed for the benefit of humans

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SIR – Just days before COP26 there are three letters in the A&T (Letters, 15th October) that want to further change the New Forest purely for the benefit of humans. No, no and no!

First the ‘feudal’ Forest. The New Forest is only half the size of Dartmoor National Park where sheep, cattle and ponies also roam freely, but our Forest has a larger population. It is the most densely populated national park and the most visited by size.

The problem is the opposite of feudal – the Forest is already dying from people, car parks, camp sites, roads and tracks.

Donkeys in the New Forest
Donkeys in the New Forest

Then the fences. The roads and adjacent strips are used by cyclists, walkers, Scout groups and horse riders passing this and that way.

Fences further reduce the access that the feudal correspondent desires. Fences will encourage speed, more collisions, damage and death – both animal and human. And cost a fortune.

In 25 years overseas I saw many simple solutions based on discrete cameras randomly placed. In Switzerland the fine is deducted from your bank account as you drive; in Australia there are road-level cameras behind bushes; in Singapore remote cameras set miles away, and so on.

Whatever method, it reduces the death toll, balances the council budget as certain drivers will always break the law, saves the planet with reduced emissions, maintains the essence of the Forest and so satisfies every group, correspondent, resident and visitor.

As Her Majesty said, it’s irritating when our elected officials keep talking and do nothing. Please, councillors, get together and implement simple solutions.

Peter Padfield,

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