Official Verderer Lord Willie Manners and Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane are joining forces to help reduce hit and run incidents where animals are killed or injured in the New Forest.
Each year around 90 animals are injured or killed on the New Forest’s roads; in around a sixth of these incidents the drivers leave the scene without reporting it.
Lord Manners said: “Whilst the Verderers, New Forest Commoners Defence Association, Forestry Commission, Hampshire County Council and the Police are all working in partnership to help reduce the number of animal accidents, unfortunately it is inevitable that some will still happen.
“The message we want to get out to people is that it is essential to report any traffic incident that involves an animal immediately so that it can receive the veterinary attention it needs.
“If you leave an animal alone and in pain not only is it inhumane but also a serious breach of animal welfare.”
Michael Lane said: “Over the years there has been a downwards trend in the number of incidents involving animals in the New Forest. The majority of incidents that do occur are during the hours of darkness and with the clocks going back soon it seems timely to issue a reminder to drivers to take extra care, stay vigilant and adjust their speed when driving through the New Forest, especially when it is dark.
“I would implore people to report any incident they are involved in or witness – if you leave the scene you may be committing an offence.
“I have requested the Constabulary ensure all reports of animal hit and runs are recorded and the information shared with Verderers and insurance companies, and if caught the utmost is done to aid successful prosecution of anyone who has inappropriately left the scene and failed to report an accident.”
The majority of traffic incidents involving animals in the New Forest involve people living in or within 5 miles of the New Forest. The Commissioner will be producing promotional materials with stark reminders and using social media to raise awareness of the need to exercise caution on the New Forest roads. In addition the Commissioner will explore ways of working with insurance companies to assist in tracking down those who fail to report an incident. This sits alongside the activity of the Verderers to raise awareness among body repair shops and providing reflective collars.