Top 5: Animal obstacles


Animals getting in the way of transport are all over the news just now – from Prince Charles to the humble hedgehog. Here’s our top 5 animal obstacles.

1) Caution - Deer Crossing

After Prince Charles' car had a run-in with a deer at Balmoral in Scotland at the weekend, the Guardian reported that the heir to the throne was shaken but uninjured , while 'the condition of the deer is unknown'.

Prince Charles looking shaken, but not stirred

However, according to the AA, between 40,000 and 75,000 deer are sadly killed in collisions on the UK’s roads every year.

The unfortunate incident involving the (other) prince coincided with a Caution - Deer Crossing warning from Hertfordshire County Council, whose symbol is a deer, asking drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads this autumn - a time of year when the male fallow deer is unpredictable and can travel several miles a day in search of a mate, crossing roads in the process.

2) Hedgehogging the limelight

Last week saw renewed warnings that central London’s only remaining population of hedgehogs is under threat from HS2. The company building the new high speed line, wants to use London Zoo’s car park as a lorry park to be used by heavy goods vehicles and construction trucks for up to 20 years, but the car park is one of the hedgehogs' last-known habitats.

Earlier this year, Ashford Borough council’s decision to spend £1,700 on a road safety promotion involving Moreline the Wizhog fell foul of the ‘Taxpayers’ Alliance’, who said: 'Local residents expect their taxes to pay for roadworks and adult social care, not to be wasted on silly gimmicks.'

...or saving children’s lives?

3) Cows on the line

In April Transport Network reported that an ‘insufficient’ response to a cow being on a railway line and the absence of a 'cowcatcher' were partly to blame for the derailment of a passenger train last year. According to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, the train derailed after hitting eight cows that had gained access to the railway at Godmersham in Kent.

More recently, Google admitted that its automatic face-blurring technology has been a little overzealous when Street View blurred the face of a cow to protect its privacy. Although the cow had wandered across a thoroughfare, it didn’t appear to have been using a mobile phone at the time, so the usual approach of protecting the guilty doesn’t seem to apply.

4) Wasps on a train

Last week South West Trains had to cancel the early service between Teddington and London Waterloo due to wasps invading the carriage. The Telegraph reported that passengers were alerted to the incident when they took to social media asking what had happened to the service.

There is a well-known film called Snakes on a Plane, but Transport Network has not been able to establish the scenario for that particular movie.

5) Bear with us while we ship you out

Only this week there was relief across the Arctic, Russia and the world as Russian scientists finally drove away polar bears that had besieged their weather station on an island in the Arctic Ocean for two weeks.

A nearby ship (here’s the transport angle) was able to reach the island and supply the scientists with dogs to scare off the bears, as well as flares. Fortunately, no picture is available of the scientists wearing the terrifyingly outdated trousers.


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus