THERE have been calls to introduce an average speed camera system after a series of animal deaths on a New Forest road.

An online petition has been set up by commoner Gilly Jones on behalf of New Forest Roads Awareness calling on New Forest District Council (NFDC) to “add its support to calls for the introduction of an average speed camera system on the B3078”.

The petition said: “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.”

Gilly said it was “hugely important” this was looked at again, adding: “With the increase in building not only in the Fordingbridge area but certainly around the Forest the amount of traffic is just going to increase.”

“We need to keep the Forest as it is. We really need this because the only other option is fencing which would be ridiculously expensive and would change the shape of the Forest forever,” she said.

“The petition is one stage. We need anyone that lives in the NFDC area to sign it and it will be a case of watch this space of where we go on with the other agencies.”

Gilly hopes introducing the camera system would make people “respect the speed limit”. She says a feasibility study is also needed and the various New Forest agencies need to be “on board”

Gilly admits the camera system would not be the “total answer”.

“We are trying to protect people as much as we are the animals,” added Gilly, who urged drivers to take care on the road and to expect to encounter animal stock.

Speaking to drivers to take care on the road, she said: “When you cross that cattle grid you will encounter stock, it is not maybe, you will. If you drive with that in mind then you will make your journey safer.”

She also urged motorists to report accidents involving animals.

“Just take care.” she added. “[The animals] They have got no road sense they are like a group of toddlers - give them that bit of respect and take a second to slow down and give them a wide birth. It’s about respecting them and having responsibility for yourself.”

Councillor Edward Heron, of New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council, executive member for recreation, heritage, countryside and rural affairs, said he supports an average speed camera system on the route.

He said: “Much work has been done to try and reduce the animal casualties but I believe that the best way to reduce the risk of accidents such as that on New Year’s Eve is to introduce an Average Speed Camera enforcement system.”

Nigel Matthews, New Forest National Park Authority’s head of recreation management and Learning, said while there was in principle support from most of the participating organisations, a “detailed” feasibility study was needed and there would be “significant installation and on-going operating costs”. He said the proposal would also need the support of the police.

Cllr Heron has called upon the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner to give his support to this project.

The police and crime commissioner’s office said it had no role in awarding speed camera funding but said it had encouraged the local constabulary to contact those in the community seeking support for the petition.

Click here to sign the ePetition.