Cowal Red Squirrel Group and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels are unable to fund road warning signs or arrange for their erection. However the following guidance notes taken from ‘Save Our Squirrels- a Red Alert North East England Project- c/o Northumberland Wildlife Trust’ may be of help to those wishing to pursue these themselves.
Red squirrel road deaths and warning signs
Red squirrels will come to ground when foraging for food, dispersing, or looking for a mate. Unfortunately they do not have road sense and many are killed each year on the roads. It is important that squirrel feeders are not located in a position that will entice squirrels from woodland, across a road.
Road signs may be a useful tool in informing people that red squirrels are in the area, and may raise awareness of the problem. However it is important to avoid an over proliferation of these signs, as this will dilute their effectiveness.
For signs purchased from the Cowal Red Squirrel Group and to be used in the Cowal area permission has been granted for these signs to be erected on roads up to 30mph. The signs cannot be used on roads with a higher speed limit. To seek further advice on erecting the signs please contact Cowal Red Squirrel Group through their contact page: https://cowalredsquirrelgroup.org/contact/
The following advice should be used outside the Cowal area:
Signs within the Road Verge: If you wish to erect a sign within the road verge permission is required from the Local Authority or Transport Scotland depending on the class of route under consideration. The Local Authority is responsible for approval of road signs on the local roads and Transport Scotland is responsible for signing on the trunk road network.
In general the guidelines are to put up as few signs as possible to ensure that people do take notice of them. As I am sure we are all aware, if there are too many of a particular sign, people tend not to react to them.
The Council will consider any case put forward for signage to make drivers aware of red squirrels on its individual merit. A letter should be sent into the Council providing details of the exact location with details of the issues together with ecological information as to why a sign should be considered at this location.
Letters should be sent to the Council Transport Department.
The red squirrel warning is not a standard road sign, therefore gaining permission to erect one may be a long and expensive process.
Private Land: Due to the difficulties of this, you may wish to consider erecting a sign on private land, which is visible from the road. Northumberland Wildlife Trust has designed a sign, which can be manufactured by Tofco, a Northumberland sign maker. Signs should be ordered directly from Tofco, on 01661 860001.
These signs are triangular, 600mm, 0.2m2, constructed from aluminium, and display a squirrel motif. The price of one sign is approximately £24. A 3.3m galvanised post with cap, base-plate, and clips will cost approximately £20. Carriage costs are not included in these prices.
Signs such as this may require advertisement consent from the local planning authority. It will therefore be necessary to make an initial enquiry to confirm this with your authority. However, advertisement consent is not normally required for signs that are less than 0.3m in size, not illuminated, less than 4.6m above ground level, and displaying a character no more than 0.75m in height.
Before deciding to purchase a sign, please use the following points to ensure that the purchase is justified. These conditions will help ensure the use of warning signs is legal and as effective as possible:
- Have there been red squirrel road deaths at this location? For the reasons stated above, signs should only be erected in known black spots. If a stretch of road is suspected to be a squirrel death black spot, our records may be used confirm this.
- To your knowledge, is there a red squirrel warning sign in the vicinity of the proposed site? Over proliferation of signs can significantly decrease their effectiveness.
- Is advertisement consent required from the local planning authority? If so, have they granted it?
- Are you the landowner, and if not do you have the permission of the landowner to erect the sign?
- Are you able to erect and maintain the sign in a manner that is secure and safe?
For further information regarding Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels please visit www.scottishsquirrels.org.uk