Department for Transport Denies The Hedgehogs

Thu 26th Nov 2020

Local councils who applied for new road signage to help warn drivers of hedgehogs have been rejected by the governmental department responsible for traffic signs.

The Department for Transport had revealed a host of new road signs in 2019, aimed at helping save hedgehogs in areas where numbers were dropping and also hoping to reduce the number of accidents. 

Councils in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Surrey and East Yorkshire had all applied to have the new signage erected, but they met a prickly response from the DfT, who said that all four 'failed to evidence any concentrations of small animals habitually in the road, or provide any accident data'.

The lack of interest in potentially life-saving signage for hedgehogs has been met with disdain by one of the UK’s biggest hedgehog charities. Only four councils from 343 actually applied for the signs.

“We are disappointed that more authorities aren’t applying for the small mammal signs that feature a hedgehog and that the DfT are rejecting those that do,” said Fay Bass, chief executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

“We know from interaction with the public that these signs would be very welcome in many areas where hedgehog road casualty counts are high.”

The news has also drawn criticism from the AA, who were confused as to how the government had actually come to their decision.

“Rejection of the applications based on failing to provide adequate evidence conjures up all sorts of weird scenarios: council officers counting the bodies or sending off the evidence in jiffy bags,”said an AA spokesman. 

“Common sense suggests that, if cash-strapped councils are prepared to fork out the money for the signs and the manpower to erect them, there is probably the local need for them.”