Dartmoor ponies given reflective collars to stop them getting hit by drivers

A pony wearing one of the new neckbands Credit: Vision Zero South West

More than 200 animals on Dartmoor are being given reflective neckbands to make them more visible to vehicles and help prevent them from being hit by drivers.

Last year there were 116 road traffic collisions involving animals on Dartmoor – with 89 animals killed as a result.

The neckband idea came from Dartmoor Forest Parish Council who say collisions and animal deaths have been a major concern for several years.

They successfully bid for £6,306 from the Vision Zero South West ‘Call For Ideas’ scheme which will pay for neckbands for animals specifically along the B3212 road from Peek Hill to Princetown.

It's hoped the neckbands will reduce the number of animal deaths on local roads. Credit: Vision Zero South West

Karla McKechnie, Dartmoor livestock protection officer, said: “These unfenced roads become death traps unless motorists are animal aware and drive with ‘moor’ care.

"I am sickened and saddened by the high number of collisions I attend involving dead and dying animals."

As well as the neckbands, the funding from Vision Zero South West has also been used to install a new Vehicle Activated Speed sign below Leedon Tor, on the road from Princetown, to alert drivers to excess speed.

This is in addition to the one, funded by the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society, already located by the double car parks on the road from Peek Hill.

Improved signage at both Peek Hill and Princetown will be put in place to remind drivers to expect livestock to be on, or near the road, and to reduce speed/ give way to animals.

Animals - including ponies, sheep and horses - free-roam on Dartmoor.

Cllr Mark Williams said: “These neck bands have proved successful in their use in the New Forest. We hope that these measures will raise driver awareness of the need for caution and reduced speed when travelling on this stretch of road, and that traffic collisions and incidents involving livestock will be reduced as a result.

“If this initiative proves successful the aim is to roll out similar measures on other key routes across the moor, should additional funding become available.”

The bands will be issued to famers of 80 Dartmoor Ponies and 150 cattle following a successful funding bid to the Vision Zero South West Road Safety partnership.

If you witness an animal being hit, please call the Dartmoor livestock protection officer on 07873 587561.