Keeping our furry friends safe | Britain's rural road signs refreshed to protect wildlife

Animal safe road sign shown at wildlife hospital
Animal safe road sign shown at wildlife hospital

In a bid to reduce road traffic collisions and better protect Britain’s wildlife population, the Department for Transport (DfT) have announced plans to refresh the small animal warning sign.

The updated signage will build upon the existing design first introduced in 2019. The hedgehog featured will now be presented with white quills on its back in a bid to improve clarity and visibility to road users. 

In addition to this update, the DfT aims to reduce red tape preventing local councils from erecting wildlife warning signs around accident hotspots, again with the intention of reducing accident rates.

Small animal warning sign

The announcement has been welcomed by various organisations, including the AA and Badger Trust, with the latter encouraging wildlife supporters: “to contact their local councils and campaign to get warning signs in accident hotspots.” 

Peter Hambly, Executive Director of the Badger Trust went on to add, however, that whilst the signs represent a welcome start, they would like to see further traffic calming measures in places of high incidence of collisions. 

“Badgers are the number one mammal killed on the roads every year. We urge people to slow down and stay alert and give badgers a brake,” a statement added. 

Hedgehog crossing the road

Transport Minister, Mark Harper further stated: “These common-sense changes will lead to more small animal signs across the country, cutting down on bureaucracy to help protect both drivers and small animals, improving safety on our roads”. 

Local councils will no longer be required to consider the erection of signage on a case-by-case basis, allowing them to channel their resources in ways that more effectively support their communities. 

The signs are intended to protect ancient crossing routes for small animals, who have often used the same pathways for generations. 

Old hedgehog signage

As rural traffic volume continues to burgeon, wildlife is under constant strain. Since the millennium hedgehog numbers have dropped by up to 75% in rural areas, with traffic being a major contributing factor.  

Motorcyclists too can benefit, with improved signage offering bikers advanced warning of potential hazards, especially at a time of year when visibility is often significantly reduced.