Road tunnels for wildlife
Making light in road tunnels
Roads cause problems for our wildlife in more than one way. Not only are many animals killed trying to cross the road each year, but roads that are especially busy and wide can create impenetrable barriers for many species, isolating populations from one another.
Mitigation is used to some extent, when new roads are constructed. However, no one has yet looked at how effective these measures are, whether they actually work, or if they might be having negative impacts instead.
This project will build on current work by fellow charity Froglife. They are monitoring road tunnels that have been constructed to encourage safe movement for newts, frogs and toads under new busy roads. The team will now look at which other animals species are using these tunnels and just how effective they are for local conservation. In particular they are keen to see if they are useful for hedgehogs and water voles – two species we’re really concerned about here at PTES.
The team will gather essential baseline information and try to understand which factors most influence why and how these underpasses are used. These factors include how the tunnels are constructed, where they are placed and what the surrounding habitat looks like.
They will also create a standard monitoring scheme that can be rolled out at a national level by consultants and volunteers for future and existing projects. This vital information will form the basis for informed planning and conservation guidance for future projects and mitigation measures on a landscape scale.
Ultimately this information will enable us to promote the best solutions in order to benefit the conservation of the widest range of animal species.
This hedgehog was recently recorded in a 50cm wide amphibian road tunnel at a site in Cambridgeshire monitored by Froglife.
You can read more about this work on our partner’s site here