Community rallies to protect wildlife from speeding drivers

A CARING community leader has vowed to help prevent wonton destruction of wildlife killed and injured by mad cap drivers.

Cllr Adrian Alexander, chair of the Saddleworth and Lees district executive, is supporting locals and councillors who have been bombarded with concerns over ducks and geese.

A sign handmade by residents

Centre of the problem has been Uppermill with ducks being left dead, injured or terrified by uncaring drivers.

Residents living near the picturesque Willow Bank pond at Church Road have erected their own handmade sign warning of ‘geese on the road’ in a bid to calm the problems.

The historic pond, the site of a carding mill in the 1700s, is a favourite nesting and breeding spot for geese and ducks, as well as a tourist attraction for artists and photographers.

But worried locals have mounted a watch there to guide ducks and their young across Church Road and flag speeding motorists down to warn of the threat to the birds.

One elderly resident, who did not want to be named, said: “Some drivers seem to have absolutely no thought for wildlife.

“They completely forget this is a country village and they drive everywhere at breakneck speed.

“The pond is on a long bend and consequently the birds and their young who may be attempting to cross should be approached with care.

“I, along with others, have stood in the road to stop vehicles speeding while the birds are on the move,” the resident added. “It’s heartbreaking to see wildlife left in such a distressed state.”

The bend on Church Road

Now Cllr Alexander is examining the installation of duck warning signs backed by ‘slow’ markings.

He said: “I love wildlife and I have been contacted by people in my own ward, Saddleworth West and Lees, and community representatives over the danger to the animals by speeding motorists.

“I have decided to help the local councillors after its been brought to my attention ducks have died and some geese have been maimed.

“We’ve instructed our transport team to look at the situation with the implementation of duck signs and slow markings to help.

“We have also been told of geese gathering in gardens. Some have become semi domestic and we are looking to organisations dealing with animal welfare to give us best advice.

“I’m hopeful of setting up a duck and geese awareness team from the people of Saddleworth and Uppermill as the animals do add to the tourism of the area.”

Dave OHara, RSPB’s Dovestone site manager, said: “The ducks and geese around Uppermill are a source of pleasure for many people.

“It is positive to hear a group is being set up to consider problems, and any traffic calming measures that will protect people and wildlife would be welcome.”


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