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Otters, swans and sheep among animals killed on region’s major roads

PUBLISHED: 19:00 21 January 2019

Deer, otters, swans and badgers were among the animals killed on Suffolk and Essex roads Picture: ARCHANT

Deer, otters, swans and badgers were among the animals killed on Suffolk and Essex roads Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

New data reveals the A14 is the deadliest road for animals in Suffolk and Essex – with dogs, cats, deer and badgers among the most common victims of roadkill.

Four badgers were killed on Suffolk and Essex roads in 2017 Picture: ALAN BALDRYFour badgers were killed on Suffolk and Essex roads in 2017 Picture: ALAN BALDRY

New figures from Highways England reveal the A14 was responsible for 36% of the 67 recorded roadkill cases in 2018, up from 30% in 2017 – making it the deadliest road for animals in the region.

The data, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, shows an identical number of deaths on Suffolk and Essex roads in 2017 and 2018 – however it only covers cases from April 2017 onwards, meaning it is likely that more animals were killed in 2018 overall.

The majority of roadkill victims in both years were deer, with a total of 31 killed in 2018, up from 26 in 2017.

Meanwhile, a significant proportion of the total deaths were registered as ‘unknown’ species – meaning they were not identifiable by highways officers when removed from the roads.

While the number of deer, swans and unknown species killed on the region’s highways increased in 2018, it was a better year for domestic pets – with cat and dog deaths down by almost 30%.

Of those animals that could be identified, among the most unusual roadkill victims were otters, swans, fox, sheep and horses.

An otter was among the victims of roadkill in 2017 Picture: ABF THE SOLDIERS' CHARITYAn otter was among the victims of roadkill in 2017 Picture: ABF THE SOLDIERS' CHARITY

Explaining how the data was calculated, Highways England representative Mark Knight said: “Highways England maintains and operates the strategic road network in England. In Essex and Suffolk this includes the M11, A11, A12, A14, A47 and A120.

“Animals carcasses are only removed from our roads where they are likely to cause a safety concern and primarily where they are causing an obstruction in a live lane.

“We will routinely remove the carcasses of cats and dogs with the aim of returning them to their owners if they can be traced through microchip records.

“We only keep records of carcasses removed and we only hold information from the start of the current asset support contract on April 1, 2017.

“We record animal carcasses by species, where known, and the road from which it was removed, not by county. Therefore, the information provided below includes data for Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.”


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