The numbers of deer killed on the roads is rising alarmingly now winter is coming.
Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of the Wildlife Ambulance Rescue Service calls the situation ‘carnage.’ And people living along the A22 and A275 in the Ashdown Forest say their lives are in danger when they venture onto roads. They also cite the horror - particularly for children - of seeing animals hit or lying at the roadside.
The AA says the Ashdown Forest is one of the worst areas in the UK for deer collisions. And residents ask why nothing is done to address the problem. Trudie Noakes from Church Lane, Danehill said she was driving along the A22 between Wych Cross and Forest Row when she had to slam on her brakes as a deer shot out in front of her. She said: “I looked to the side and saw three more waiting in the wings.” She asks how the problem can be dealt with saying vegetation needs cutting back and warning signs put up at crossing points. She went on: “Morning and twilight seem to be when they move around and often at very fast speed across the roads.”
Forest Centre spokeswoman Charlotte Bain explained Conservators are responsible for clearing vegetation up to one metre from the roadside and beyond that it is the council’s job.
A County Council spokesman said highway vegetation is the landowners’ responsibility but if they fail to do it then the council can take action. Charlotte Bain went on: “Last week the clocks went back and unfortunately this means rush hour conflicts with the dusk movement of deer. It also coincides with the fallow deer rutting season when large bucks claim territory and harems. This means they are full of testosterone and frequently charge across roads. We ask drivers to take care on all country roads but particularly when crossing Ashdown Forest roads at dawn and dusk as this is when deer are most mobile. If you see one there are likely to be more. Leave extra space between you and the car in front as there is a risk they will brake hard. You have more chance of avoiding a collision at 40mph than 60mph. If you do hit a deer it could massively increase its chance of survival and reduce damage to your car or potential injury to occupants.” If you see a dead or injured deer you should call Sussex Police on 101 or Forest Rangers on: 01342 823583. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks also advises ringing the emergency service of a local vet.
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