Fence will save toads at busy road in Cranwich
Volunteers who put their own lives in peril to help toads cross busy roads have won some help in making the process safer.
Toad traps and a temporary fence are to be put up on the side of the A134 at Cranwich to keep the toads off the road until patrollers arrive to lift them across safely.
Donna Stocking, volunteer co-ordinator, said: “I’m very, very pleased that somebody is doing something. It will not save all the toads but it will help and make the patrols safer.”
Mrs Stocking has been campaigning for three years to get action at Cranwich and at points of the road between the A134 and Swaffham at Oxborough and Cockley Cley where thousands of toads cross to get from hibernation grounds in Thetford Forest to their breeding ground in gravel pits south east of Didlington during a migration period of four to six weeks from mid February.
She said: “Three years ago the carnage was so bad every morning with thousands and thousands of toads killed. The smell of rotting flesh was appalling and I was in tears over it and thought ‘I’ve got to do something about it.’”
In 2011 Mrs Stocking, 43, of Stoke Ferry, a teaching assistant at Northwold’s Norman Primary School, launched the toad patrols and she now co-ordinates a team of around 20 regular volunteers in going to the sites when the conditions are right for migration, usually at night or in the early morning, to lift the toads across the road.
The Forestry Commission has funded the £300 1 ft high, 300 m long fence, which will go up on January 20.
Neal Armour-Chelu, Forrestry Commission ecologist for the East of England, said: “It should make everything a lot safer and more efficient.”
The fence is intended to be an interim measure with hopes Norfolk County Council will install tunnels under the road for the toads to pass through in the long term.
A county council spokesman said the authority is sympathetic to the aims of the campaign, but it has very little funding for road improvements and priority is given to where human life and limb is at risk.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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