The Department for Transport has revealed a new traffic sign warning motorists of small mammals in the road.
Photograph: Department for Transport
In 2017, 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and four people were killed, bringing the total of people killed between 2005 and 2017 to 100. The new sign will bridge the gap between warnings about smaller animals such as toads and larger animals such as deer.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling hopes that: 'The new small mammal warning sign', which features a hedgehog, 'should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.'
As well as protecting people, the sign is also designed to help protect wildlife, especially hedgehogs, whose rural population is expected to have been halved since 2000.
Grayling has called upon animal welfare groups and local authorities to identify accident and wildlife hotspots. Jill Nelson, CEO at People’s Trust for Endangered Species, said:
'We welcome this focus on road safety and protection for all small mammals.'
'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.'
Eight towns and cities from across the UK have been chosen for an £11 million initiative to save green spaces
The Future Parks initiative, set up by the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, will fund these towns and cities to find sustainable ways to fund and manage green spaces. They will join Newcastle, a founding city, which has subsequently developed a new parks and allotments trust to look after green spaces in the city. The eight places chosen are:
• Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
• Cambridgeshire (county-wide, covering seven council areas)
• Islington and Camden
Over 81 communities and councils applied to be part of the initiative, asking for over £60 million to take part in the first programme of this scale.
According to the National Trust, the winning bids demonstrated four key themes: 'making green spaces central to everyday community life; giving the public a bigger role in how they are managed; ensuring they contribute more to the public’s mental and physical health; and transforming the way they are funded to secure their futures.'
Across the chosen cities, allotments, nature reserves, cemeteries, parks and woodlands total more than 20,000 hectares.
Hilary McGrady, the National Trust’s Director General, said: 'Today is a landmark moment for the nation’s urban parks. This is not just about new ways to fund and support these much-loved community spaces, but completely re-thinking the role green spaces play in our lives and how we can ensure they thrive for generations to come.'