Conservationists name locations in Suffolk where new wildlife road sign could reduce roadkill
PUBLISHED: 14:36 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:03 20 June 2019
Warning sign introduced this week is designed to cut the number of collisions between road users and animals.
Conservationists in Suffolk have welcomed the introduction of a new road sign designed to reduce the number of collisions between wildlife and road users.
The new triangular sign featuring a hedgehog was unveiled by the Department for Transport earlier this week. It is intended to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs, and could be placed in areas where accident rates are highest, the department said.
Research published in 2016 found that between 167,000-335,000 hedgehogs are killed on roads annually while the latest Department for Transport figures show that in 2017, 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and four people were killed.
Local authorities and animal welfare groups have been called upon to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.
At the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Ali North who was hedgehog officer in Ipswich for a number of years said locations in the town that could benefit from the signs include Norwich Road and Colchester Road, She said she has carried out substantial survey work in this area and has evidence of hedgehogs crossing and also being killed on these busy roads.
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" I hope they will bring awareness to drivers of the dangers faced by small mammals on roads and highlight where species like hedgehogs are present," she added.
"If they help people drive more carefully this is a good thing, and if a few hedgehogs can be saved as a consequence, this is even better."
In west Suffolk, wildlife activist George Millins welcomed the signs. Mr Millins mans a toad crossing every spring in the village of
Waldingfield near Sudbury where a toad sign has stood for many years.
He suggested the new sign could be placed on Waldingfield Road and Springland Way in Sudbury, areas where he has found a number of dead hedgehogs this year.
"With average gardens offering no foraging for hedgehogs, they have to move on and inevitably end up going across roads," said Mr Millins.
"Drivers can do their bit by driving slower and looking out for wildlife. A particular problem is the blackbird, which flies low to avoid predators like sparrow hawks - they come over hedges, go low and into the path of vehicles."