Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

Motorists ignore warning signs after badger family set up camp under Somersham road

PUBLISHED: 16:40 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 23 March 2018

Terry and Gill Fordham own the land where the badgers have created their home. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Terry and Gill Fordham own the land where the badgers have created their home. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A group of residents in Somersham are badgering the council to step up after a sett of unexpected guests shacked up underneath their road.

Flowton Road was closed this week after a family of badgers burrowed beneath the tarmac, tossing piles of sand into the undergrowth and causing the road to partially collapse.

Now residents are concerned that motorists are knocking down the road closure signs and driving through, putting both themselves and the animals at risk.

James Caston, a local farmer and chair of Somersham Parish Council, said he had seen people blatantly ignoring the signage.

Land owner Terry Fordham has been surprised to see the badgers' activity increase over the past week. Picture: GREGG BROWNLand owner Terry Fordham has been surprised to see the badgers' activity increase over the past week. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“I live down the end of the road and I can see people using the road quite a lot,” he said.

“I can’t tell if there are people who are using it for access or they are just slipping through. Obviously people should not be driving down there. If a road is closed, it is closed for the public safety.”

Mr Caston said at first he thought somebody had dumped bags of sand into the undergrowth running by the road. However it soon became apparent that they were smaller hands (or paws) at work.

A badger sett has closed Flowton Road in Somersham. Picture: BRIAN SMITHA badger sett has closed Flowton Road in Somersham. Picture: BRIAN SMITH

Once it was reported that articulated lorries were struggling to get by, the road was shut within a day.

Mr Caston added: “The badgers have been around there for a while because they have been into people’s gardens.

“Gradually, the road started to sink. Just before it shut, it got a lot worse.

Terry and Gill Fordham said they were concerned some older residents may struggle with restricted access to their homes. Picture: GREGG BROWNTerry and Gill Fordham said they were concerned some older residents may struggle with restricted access to their homes. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“They came and looked at it and it was pretty obvious that something serious was going on.”

Mr Caston said that the road closure has also meant that lorries transporting fertiliser, wheat and oats cannot make their deliveries to his farm – putting a strain on his business.

“I am having to go all the way round the village every time I want to put fertiliser down,” he said.

The road will be closed until the council gets government permission to intervene. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe road will be closed until the council gets government permission to intervene. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“I hope that the highways team will find a solution so the badgers are safe and we can use the road again.”

Terry and Gill Fordham, who own the land in question, added that they were concerned a nearby elderly resident was cut off to the village due to the closure.

Badgers are a protected species, which means that the council cannot repair the road until it has permission from Natural England, a government-sponsored organisation responsible for conservation.

Badgers have burrowed under Flowton Road in Somersham, causing the road to partially collapse. Picture: GREGG BROWNBadgers have burrowed under Flowton Road in Somersham, causing the road to partially collapse. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “On Thursday, March 15, Suffolk Highways installed an emergency road closure on Flowton Road in Somersham following reports of the road sinking due to animal activity. Suffolk County Council’s Ecology Team has since observed evidence of a live badger sett at this location.

“As badgers are a protected species Suffolk Highways has a legal obligation to seek a license from Natural England to undertake road repairs in the vicinity of badgers. To ensure that badgers are not disturbed during their breeding season Natural England usually only issue licences between 1 July and 30 November.

“Suffolk Highways are now liaising with Natural England to plan the necessary repair works, which are likely to be undertaken during the summer. It will therefore be necessary to keep this emergency road closure in place until we are able to carry out these repair works.”

A Natural England spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Suffolk County Council to ensure the badgers are protected and the necessary repairs are made to the road as soon as possible.

“Once we receive an application we will assess the situation and ensure that work is carried out in a sensitive manner causing minimal disturbance to the badgers and the local community.”

Last April, a similar scenario threatened filming for Benedict Cumberbatch’s BBC drama The Child in Time when a badger sett was blamed for causing a sink hole on the only road in and out of Shingle Street.

Adriano Guedes, aged 65, of Kessingland, moved to England from Portugal more than 15 years ago and was admitted to hospital in 2014 after having a stroke.

A woman walking her dog along a footpath in Sudbury was confronted by a man who demanded her mobile phone.

Tributes have been paid to the former principal of Chadacre Agricultural College, John Paton Philip MBE, who has died at the age of 92.

A lorry has fallen on its side at an A11 roundabout.

November 13 has marked the first Purple Tuesday - a day dedicated to raise awareness of shopping accessibility for those living with a disability.

Eric Cook is basking in the afterglow of leading 100 other war heroes in the poignant Remembrance Service and parade at the Cenotaph, in London.

Earlier this year we asked people to nominate their inspiring women of Suffolk – and today’s the day we finally reveal the results.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24