New hedgehog road sign Image: Open Government Licence v3.0

Hedgehog population in rural areas has halved since 2000

Areas where accident rates are highest could benefit from a new sign which warns of hazards due to animals in the road.

In 2017, 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and 4 people were killed.

A new traffic sign, featuring a hedgehog, which warns road users of hazards due to animals in the road ahead could be placed in areas where accident rates are highest.

The road sign is also designed to reverse the decline in wildlife numbers, in particular, hedgehogs whose population in rural areas has halved since 2000.

Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking at how we can make them safer. Motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users are particularly at risk.

“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.”

The Secretary of State is calling on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.

Central Bedfordshire Council said that it isn’t aware of any specific rural roads which are roadkill ‘hotspots’. However, residents can request a new road sign by using the Council’s website.

Amanda Norman, from Wixams Hedgehog Support, said:

“I welcome this move with open arms! We have had a high number of RTA hedgehogs bought in this year already, sadly many have had to be put to sleep because the injuries have been too bad.

“It’s heartbreaking.”

The small wildlife sign complements other warning signs already used on UK roads. It will fill a gap between warnings about smaller animals such as migratory toads and wildfowl, and large animals such as deer and livestock.

Bedford Borough Council did not respond when asked about hotspots and how residents can request the new sign.

Wildlife roadkill is being mapped by Project Splatter. This is a citizen science project to quantify wildlife roadkill across the UK. Anyone can report observations and it collects data all year round. As of 2018, it had received over 50,000 individual roadkill records. Visit Project Splatter for more information.