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Action plea on ‘road kills’ toll
WILDLIFE campaigners have called for animal crossings, wider grass verges and electronic signs to help reduce the hundreds of animals killed on our county’s main roads each year.
The call comes as The Argus reveals new figures which show the number of animals killed on our two busiest road networks.
Figures from the Highways Agency show that more than 200 foxes, 104 badgers and 72 deer have been killed on the A27 and A23/M23 in Sussex since 2010.
In that time 520 animals have been found dead on the roadside by Highways Agency officials including cows, horses and even one mink.
Domestic pets were also victims with 50 cats and 29 dogs being killed.
In 2012 181 animals died on the county’s two busiest roads with 81 foxes among that number.
Trevor Weekes, founder of the East Sussex Wildlife and Rescue Service, said he would like to see specific badger crossings and underpasses for deer but said that local authorities were reluctant to fund the innovations.
He said he would like to see the county embrace electronic signs which illuminate when deer are near to the roadside used in the New Forest while wider grass verges instead of roadside hedgerows would give animals and drivers more opportunity to avoid potentially lethal accidents.
He added: “What we have seen change is the number of animals not surviving after being hit.
“In the 80s and 90s, there was a much higher proportion of casualties with minor injuries or which were just dazed and confused but now we are seeing a much higher proportion with serious injuries which I think is due to more lorries, vans and 4x4s on the roads. “I am surprised insurance companies don’t help with paying for these measures as they would reduce the number of road accidents, the damage to cars and repairs needed.”
A Highways Agency spokesman said the remains of smaller animals were stored in a freezer at their depots while owners were sought.
If no owner is found the remains are cremated.
The spokesman added: “Animals on busy roads can be a real threat to safety.
“Fences along our motorways and major A-roads help to prevent animals getting on to the road, and we also build underground tunnels, where possible, so that wildlife can cross safely.
“Drivers have a role to play too, especially when travelling with pets, and they can help by keeping their animals in their vehicle, even if they have broken down or been involved in an accident.”
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