GRAHAM TURNER: A grisly end to our holiday
Despite relying on my car for so many things – travelling to work, shopping, leisure, holidays – I don’t really like driving.
Living in a village with poor public transport, I’m forced to drive, but I’d love not to have to.
I’ve spent far too much of my life sitting in traffic jams – breathing in all those lovely fumes – and I’m tired of the aggression and bad manners I constantly see in other road users.
My rural location also means that every morning I experience the grisly remains of wildlife killed overnight. This seems to be increasing exponentially and is particularly bad at this time of year with so many young animals and birds about.
I don’t think there’s really much that can be done to reduce the toll, though I’m convinced there’s no real need for hedgehogs to be killed in built up areas.
I know there has been some work done on trying to reduce deer strikes in hotspots such as Thetford Forest and there are other local initiatives, like the bat ‘tunnels’ on the new A11, but these are just a drop in the ocean.
On the south coast last week, I was driving after dark and sighed to myself as I spotted a newly killed young badger at the side of the road, only to find myself a few minutes later slamming on my brakes to avoid hitting one myself. The silly thing then trotted up the road directly in front of me, my headlights lighting his way.
One of my worst driving memories is of cresting a small hill and ploughing into quite alarge flock of pheasants – a farmer had spilled freshly harvested wheat on to the road and the birds were taking advantage of a free meal. Unfortunately, several of them did not survive to tell the tale.
And driving home up the M3 at the weekend with my family, I witnessed the ultimate wildlife tragedy. My eyes firmly on the road ahead, I did not spot the proud mother duck leading a line of a dozen fluffy ducklings marching out across the hard shoulder, but my wife let out a shriek as we sped past – I had just missed them, but a glimpse in the rear view mirror showed that the cars following behind did not. A rather horrible end to our holiday.
n Still on the road, I see contractors have now been appointed to work on the £1.4 billion upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
It won’t be finished until after 2020, but I rather fear that within a very short period it will be operating at full capacity and there will be calls forfurther expansion – build the roads and cars will fill them, just look at the M25.