Hedgehog warning signs could be installed in Hampshire to protect the species following a change to the rules.

In December 2023, the Department for Transport (DfT) introduced new changes to ensure local authorities can place “small wild animal” warning signs where needed rather than applying to DfT on a case-by-case basis.

Across England, hedgehogs are registered as vulnerable to extinction on the red list for Britain’s mammals.

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Stats show hedgehog populations have fallen by 30 per cent since 2000, with rural areas seeing a drop of 75 per cent.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “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 and making sure fewer casualties are checked into wildlife hospitals.”

Currently, there are no hedgehog warning signs on Hampshire roads.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “We already work closely with a number of local wildlife and community groups to support their efforts in preserving different animal species through the erection of various forms of wildlife signage.

“This includes temporary signs for migrating species, such as toads, in certain parts of the county, as well as permanent road signs to help safeguard larger wildlife, such as horses in the New Forest.

“The ‘hedgehog’ sign is one of a number of signs provided by the Department for Transport for local authorities to use.

"To date, we do not have any in situ, but would consider requests for their provision should evidence show that they are justified.”

In 2019, Hampshire was revealed to be the top county location for spotting hedgehogs, according to Hedgehog Street’s BIG Hedgehog Map.

The live map shows that around 468 hedgehogs were sighted in Winchester, 605 in Eastleigh, 479 in Basingstoke, 169 in Fareham, and 248 in Romsey.

For more information about the map, visit https://bighedgehogmap.org/