Ad Campaign Tackling Animal Road Deaths

A new poster campaign's starting in the New Forest to try reduce to the number of road accidents involving animals.

Last year there were 46 road traffic accidents involving animals on the B3078 and B3079. 

These busy roads across the north of the New Forest bucked the overall trend of fewer accidents. 

Now, for the first time, the entire back of one of the New Forest Tour's open top buses carries an image of ponies at sunset with the slogan "Ponies don't dent they die", written by 14-year-old Oliver Smith, who won a competition in 2011.

Oliver was delighted to hear that his slogan is once again hitting the headlines. He said: "First it was a poster, then road signs and now it's on the back of a bus!"

Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: "This year has got off to a good start. The number of animal accidents across the Open Forest by the end of June was only 40, compared to 64 in the same period last year. 

"However, we wanted to remind drivers in the north to be careful. The image on the bus by photographer Mike Read reminds us that animals are on the road day and night."

Head Agister Jonathan Gerrelli said: "It is the law to report all accidents as soon as possible, and within 24 hours. However 31 accidents were not reported last year. 

"Not only is this distressing for the injured animal but also for the Agisters - we work long hours in often difficult circumstances. It is our job to find the animal and often to end its suffering. 

"Failure to report an accident promptly may result in unnecessary suffering to the animal - something which could lead the Police to take further action."

Graham Ferris, Chairman of the Commoners Defence Association, said: "The Commoners' animals are vital to the New Forest since their grazing keeps the Forest the way we have all come to appreciate. The animals have right of way and don't understand that cars are dangerous. 

"By reminding drivers to watch out for the animals, we hope to reduce the number of accidents."