Illuminated sheep slows traffic

Six solar-powered, vehicle-activated warning signs have been installed on two roads in the North York Moors National Park in a bid to cut the number of sheep road deaths.

Last year, 239 sheep and lambs were killed on open moor roads in the North York Moors.

The signs are being trialled on these main roads over the moors and sheep deaths will be monitored to see if the signs make a difference.

Caution Sheep

Caution Sheep

The signs are not permanent and are planned to be removed over the winter and then reinstated next spring.

The new warning signs, which have been funded by North Yorkshire County Council, are being trialled on the Blakey Road between Hutton le Hole and Castleton and on the road between Rosedale and Ralph Cross.

The signs flash with two images: a sheep warning triangle followed by ‘Slow Down’ and are activated when a vehicle travels over a certain speed.

The North York Moors National Park Authority, along with North Yorkshire County Council, the police and moorland farmers, has looked at a number of options to try and reduce sheep road deaths.

Various traffic calming options and a reduced speed limit have all been considered but have been found to be unsuitable.

Rachel Pickering, the National Park Authority’s Moorland and Estate Officer, said:

“Improved signage would seem to be the best way forward in our efforts to reduce the number of sheep killed on the National Park’s roads. We appreciate that some people may find the signs intrusive, but sheep deaths and injuries are very distressing and also costly for the moorland farmers. Collisions can also damage vehicles and cause injuries for any motorists involved.

“The signs have been located at accident black spots, in consultation with the farmers affected, but we have tried to minimise the sign’s impact on the landscape as much as possible.

The signs will only be in place between April and October when the lambs are on the moors and the risk to sheep is greatest.”

Councillor County Councillor John Fort, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:

“The County Council has funded these signs and welcomes their installation as a help to our farming community and to reduce the possibility of road accidents and collisions that could lead to injury or death for motorists or walkers caught up in them.”

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