Local road closure starts toady to save crossing amphibians

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By Teddington People | Friday, March 14, 2014, 09:58

Motorists in Ham face a road closure with a difference from today, after Richmond Council announced it will be closing a local road for the fourth successive year to allow toads to cross.

The toads, which migrate in their hundreds from their home in Ham Common to a nearby pond for the breeding season, will be given safe passage across Church Road in Ham, for the next three weeks. The measure was taken a few years back after local residents reported large numbers of toads dying under the wheels of cars on the road which is on the way to the pond.

Richmond Council has written to warn residents that they will face disruption during the three-week closure from 10am Friday, March 14 to 10am Friday, April 4. To help the toads on their way volunteers - supported by Richmond Council and national wildlife charity Froglife - will scoop the toads into buckets and take them safely to their breeding spot. The Toad Patrol is now in its fourth year.

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Cllr Chris Harrison, said:

“ Richmond is the greenest and most beautiful borough in London and we are blessed with lively wildlife habitats. The migration is driven by the weather as the toads like moist conditions which means it’s difficult to predict exact dates and times. However, we will do our best to avoid inconvenience for the public. I hope residents enjoy the spectacle of the toads as they go about their journey and would like to thank residents for their understanding as to why it is essential to temporarily close the road.”

In the longer term, Richmond Council has received funding from Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme to create a new pond at the centre of Ham Common Woods. The Council will ‘encourage’ the toads to spawn there and avoid the busy Church Road.

For further information or to volunteer for a toad patrol, or donate to the pond creation project, call 0845 6122 660 or email trees&parks@richmond.gov.uk

The section of Church Road running between Ham Gate Avenue and the entrance to Wilmer House will be closed from today until 10am on Friday April 4.



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