Government Unveils New Hedgehog Road Signs

Government Unveils New Hedgehog Road Signs

Fleet drivers will soon have to familiarise themselves with a new road sign. But it’s not warning them off adverse conditions, roadworks or congestion; instead, it’ll warn them of hedgehogs. 

Hedgehog Warning

The Department for Transport (DfT) has unveiled a new hedgehog road sign. As well as alerting motorists to the presence of the prickly creatures, it’ll notify them of hazards posed by local animals and wildlife. Whilst the concept might seem niche, it’s worth bearing in mind the number of accidents caused by small animals. In 2017 alone, 629 people were injured in accidents caused by them and 4 people were killed.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, is urging local councils to identify key wildlife sites and to install the signs. As well as improving road safety, it’s also hoped that the signs will have a positive impact on the environment; not to mention small mammal populations. Grayling said, “the new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.”

Preventing Deaths 

Grayling will be meeting with road safety organisations and animal welfare groups to discuss the extent of the issue. These include the likes of the AA, RAC and Wildlife Trust. Between 2005 and 2017 a staggering 100 people were killed in accidents involving animals on the road; a further 14,173 people were injured for the same reason. The new hedgehog sign will be used with pre-existing ones highlighting the presence of birds and larger animals; including the likes of deer. Specifically, it’ll highlight the presence not only of hedgehogs, but also badgers, otters and squirrels. It’s introduction is, in part, a result of an updated Road Safety Statement and two-year action plan aimed at reducing road deaths.

Wildlife groups have welcomed the introduction of the signs. Jill Nelson, CEO at People’s Trust for Endangered Species, is pleased with their introduction. She said, “at PTES roadkill has long been a concern, which is why we launched our Mammals on Roads survey. We have also joined forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to deliver the Hedgehog Street campaign, meeting with Mr Grayling to express our concerns for hedgehogs on roads and elsewhere.”

All Down To Local Councils

Precisely which councils intend to utilise the signs, how frequently and when remains to be seen. Whilst installing signs is a straightforward business, locating the most appropriate sites will no doubt be a challenge; involving the knowledge and expertise of local experts. Businesses will no doubt benefit from updating their fleet drivers on the introduction of the new signs and precisely what they mean.

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