SEVERAL new signs have been installed in Warminster to help protect toads and otters crossing Smallbrook Road.

They have been installed by Sustainable Warminster members to stop speeding drivers from mowing down local wildlife crossing the road from the Smallbrook Meadow Nature Reserve.

Harriet James, of Sustainable Warminster, says thousands of toads migrate to the reserve in spring to breed and then cross back again later in the year.

“We are trying to persuade Wiltshire Council to close the road in the spring to allow the toads to cross safely.

“The toads are protected under the National Environmental Research Council Act 2006, which places a duty on local authorities to conserve biodiversity.”

The group are taking their request to Warminster Town Council and the Warminster Area Board on October 19. In the meantime, they are lobbying for the speed limit to be cut from 30mph to 20mph.

The group says that when roads were quieter during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year more cyclists and walkers used Smallbrook Road for exercise.

“It’s close to two cycle routes, including National Cycle Route 24, and forms a corridor to open countryside,” Mrs James said.

“Closing the road to traffic in the spring would have multiple benefits for both residents and the wildlife.

“The least we can do is to introduce speed calming measures, such as humps, to slow the traffic down.

“The road is used as a rat-run. If we can slow drivers down, there would be a disincentive for them to use it. This would make it safer for both wildlife and cyclists and walkers.”