New sign warns motorists of wildlife hazards
Signs showing hedgehogs are scheduled for UK roads to warn drivers of potential risks caused by the creatures and other wildlife of similar size.
The signage will be positioned in parts of the country where large quantities of animals – including hedgehogs, badgers, squirrels and otters – are active.
Animal hazard signs presently focus on larger animals like cattle and deer, or smaller creatures such as frogs and toads. This move from the Department of Transport is a measure to fill this gap and has two aims – to assist in preventing accidents and to counter a growing decline in UK wildlife numbers.
The population of hedgehogs has dramatically fallen across Wales, England and Scotland. In the 1950s, the count was estimated to be around 30 million but is now closer to one million.
Secretary for Transport Chris Grayling has asked for assistance from animal welfare societies and local councils to pinpoint wildlife hazard hotspots where signs should be situated.
Chief Executive for the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Jill Nelson, stated the new signs were developed following a discussion between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the charity and Grayling. Concerns were outlined that the hedgehog population was facing decline due to loss of hedgerows from intensive farming. Nelson commented:
“We welcome this focus on road safety and protection for all small mammals.”
Instructors conducting driving lessons in Wirral, which has a prevalent wildlife population due to its many woodland areas, should be sure to inform students of the new signage.