At our full Council meeting on Monday 11 October, we considered a petition from the New Forest Speed Awareness Campaign asking us to add our support to calls for the introduction of an Average Speed Camera system on the B3078 (Roger Penny Way).
The petition, which gained 3,557 signatures, read, 'In light of the recent tragic deaths of three donkeys, two sheep and four ponies on the B3078 Roger Penny Way and the history of animal casualties on this route, that the District Council adds its support to calls for the introduction of an Average Speed Camera system on this route.'
Cllr Edward Heron, our Leader of the Council, thanked the petition organisers, Gilly Jones and Sarah Weston for attending the meeting, and will now work with the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Hampshire County Council as the Highways Authority, on a feasibility study into traffic speeds on the road in the north of the district, which has seen a number of recent animal casualties. Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Heron said;
"I am sure that all Members of the Council share your concerns with regards to the unfortunate recent animal casualties along Roger Penny Way. It is clear from the petitions that have been submitted that a significant number of residents and visitors to the New Forest also share your concerns.
"Although this Council does not have the responsibility or the powers to install average speed cameras or any speed deterrent or enforcement activities on the public highway, the petition before us calls on the Council to adds its support to the campaign for the introduction of an Average Speed Camera system on the B3078 Roger Penny Way. I understand from a recent communication that I have had with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire that they are now agreeable to contributing towards a feasibility study, this is clearly a very positive move forward.
"I would therefore like to move that the Council does add its support to this campaign."
Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
"I was saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of two men on the A326 last week, and whilst we await the results of the investigation into this particular incident, it certainly highlights the importance of making sure our roads are as safe as they can be for all.
"In relation to Roger Penny Way, I very much share residents' concerns about speeding in the New Forest and animal casualties. I am pleased to support a feasibility study into the potential use of average speed cameras for Roger Penny Way. There have been a number of animal deaths on the route in recent times. This loss of life is senseless and devastating for the animal owners.
"The New Forest is defined not only by the beautiful landscape, but also by the animals that roam the area and we should all work together to protect it. I would urge all drivers to drive with great care in the New Forest, especially as the nights draw in and visibility reduces."
Lord Manners, the Official Verderer said;
"The Verderers are delighted to hear that the Hampshire PCC is supportive of a feasibility study into the possibility of average speed cameras on the Roger Penny Way. We believe that the installation of such cameras would achieve a significant reduction in the number of animal casualties on this road."
A report on the next steps will be brought to a future Cabinet meeting.