Fences protecting A11 wildlife stolen
- Credit: Archant
SPECIAL fences erected to protect wildlife on the A11 are being stolen by gardeners, it is believed.
A number of the willow panels, which were put in place about six weeks ago to screen the sensitive heathland that surrounds the road, have been taken.
One worker said about 15 of the two-metre high fences have so far been taken between the Fiveways and Thetford roundabouts and suggested they might now be installed in private gardens.
He added: “They are attractive fences, but I don’t think people realise what job they actually do though.”
A Highways Agency spokeswoman, who would not confirm the number of panels taken, said the hurdles were crucial to ensure the ongoing protection of the natural environment.
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The area around the A11 is home to a wide variety of animals, from deer to protected species like stone curlews.
The RSPB met with the Highways Agency ahead of works to make sure the curlew population did not suffer as a result of the dualling of the road.
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During ground-clearing work on the road at the end of last year, 300 common lizards, 50 grass snakes, six adders and six great crested newts were relocated from the site.
A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “The two-metre high willow hurdle which can be seen along parts of the A11 dualling scheme between the Fiveways and Thetford roundabouts has been put in place to screen off heathland that forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
“This fencing has been installed as a temporary measure while work is ongoing and is crucial to ensuring the ongoing protection of the natural environment. The screen will be replaced with hedges to permanently shield the heathland from the new road once the A11 dualling and improvement scheme is completed.”
Earlier this month Geoff Chatfield, Highways Agency project manager, revealed that traffic could be using parts of the A11 by June.
He added: “Things are going well on the A11 scheme at the moment – we are on programme and making good progress. We have done most of the top-soil stripping for the new dual carriageway, a lot of the earthworks are now under way and we are hoping to start building the new carriageways very soon.”
The £134million dualling and improvement project, which runs along 9.1miles of road, is due to be completed by December 2014.