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SSC dethrones Bugatti as Tuatara hypercar sets record speed of 331mph

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ssc dethrones bugatti as tuatara hypercar sets record speed of 331mph

American car brand SSC has been confirmed as setting a new world record top speed for a production vehicle when its Tuatara hypercar clocked 331mph outside Las Vegas earlier this month, toppling the much-debated previous claim of Bugatti’s Chiron.

The average speed clocked over two runs saw a recorded 316.11mph, which beats Bugatti’s previous best of 304.77mph, which has been in question having only been clocked in one direction last year.

The Tuatara’s two efforts were clocked at 301.07mph and 331.15mph on the morning of Saturday 10 October near Pahrump, Nevada, along a closed seven-mile stretch of State Route 160 – also setting new records for the fastest flying mile, flying kilometre and highest speed achieved on a public road. 

The world's fastest car: The Shelby SuperCar (SSC) Tuatara set a record production vehicle top speed of 316mph earlier this month in America, clocking a massive 331mph on one of two runs

The world's fastest car: The Shelby SuperCar (SSC) Tuatara set a record production vehicle top speed of 316mph earlier this month in America, clocking a massive 331mph on one of two runs

The world’s fastest car: The Shelby SuperCar (SSC) Tuatara set a record production vehicle top speed of 316mph earlier this month in America, clocking a massive 331mph on one of two runs

To make its attempt as credible as possible, SSC – which stands for Shelby SuperCars, though founder Jerod Shelby is no relation to famed American car designer Carroll Shelby – claims the vehicle used is one of the 100 production models to be produced, and the runs were conducted using street tyres and non-race fuel.  

At the wheel was Manchester-born racing driver Oliver Webb, and the speeds he reached in the hypercar were measured by 15 GPS satellites. 

In accordance with record criteria, the Tuatara traveled in opposite directions, clocking its speeds within one hour, to break the world record for ‘Fastest Production Vehicle’.

Officials were on site to verify all world record criteria was met.

The Tuatara’s record isn’t the first time SSC has gone for the Bugatti jugular, taking the same title from the iconic French manufacturer in 2007 when it’s Ulitmate Aero hypercar set a new record of 257.41mph, which dethroned the Bugatti Veyron’s previous record from 2005 of 253.81mph.

SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby (left) - no relation to famed US car designer Carroll Shelby - posing with British racing driver Oliver Webb (right), who was at the wheel for the high-speed run

SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby (left) - no relation to famed US car designer Carroll Shelby - posing with British racing driver Oliver Webb (right), who was at the wheel for the high-speed run

SSC founder and CEO Jerod Shelby (left) – no relation to famed US car designer Carroll Shelby – posing with British racing driver Oliver Webb (right), who was at the wheel for the high-speed run

The average speed clocked over two runs saw a recorded 316.11mph, which topples Bugatti's previous best of 304.77mph, which has been in question having only been clocked in one direction last year

The average speed clocked over two runs saw a recorded 316.11mph, which topples Bugatti's previous best of 304.77mph, which has been in question having only been clocked in one direction last year

The average speed clocked over two runs saw a recorded 316.11mph, which topples Bugatti’s previous best of 304.77mph, which has been in question having only been clocked in one direction last year

The Tuatara's two efforts were clocked at 301.07mph and 331.15mph on the morning of Saturday 10 October near Pahrump, Nevada, along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160

The Tuatara's two efforts were clocked at 301.07mph and 331.15mph on the morning of Saturday 10 October near Pahrump, Nevada, along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160

The Tuatara’s two efforts were clocked at 301.07mph and 331.15mph on the morning of Saturday 10 October near Pahrump, Nevada, along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160

‘It’s been ten years since we held this record with our first car, the Ultimate Aero, and the Tuatara is leagues ahead. Its performance reflects the dedication and focus with which we pursued this achievement,’ said Jerod Shelby, CEO of SSC. 

‘We came pretty close to meeting the theoretical numbers, which is astonishing to do in a real world setting on a public road. America’s new claim to victory in the ‘land-based space race’ is going to be tough to beat.’   

The Tuatara was first announced in 2011, though the production-ready hypercar wasn’t shown until the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. No official price has yet to be confirmed, though Shelby claimed back in 2013 it would ring in at around $1.3million (£1million).

The Tuatara now also holds records for the fastest flying mile on a public road, fastest flying kilometre on a public road and highest speed achieved on a public road

The Tuatara now also holds records for the fastest flying mile on a public road, fastest flying kilometre on a public road and highest speed achieved on a public road

The Tuatara now also holds records for the fastest flying mile on a public road, fastest flying kilometre on a public road and highest speed achieved on a public road

The SCC Tuatara has a twin-turbo charged 5.9-litre V8 engine, producing a massive 1,750bhp on E85 ethanol fuel, or a lesser 1,350bhp using 91 octane unleaded

The SCC Tuatara has a twin-turbo charged 5.9-litre V8 engine, producing a massive 1,750bhp on E85 ethanol fuel, or a lesser 1,350bhp using 91 octane unleaded

The SCC Tuatara has a twin-turbo charged 5.9-litre V8 engine, producing a massive 1,750bhp on E85 ethanol fuel, or a lesser 1,350bhp using 91 octane unleaded

The hypercar has one of the fastest-shifting transmissions ever, with the seven-speed roboticised CIMA 'box capable of changing gear in less than 100 milliseconds using the paddles behind the steering wheel

The hypercar has one of the fastest-shifting transmissions ever, with the seven-speed roboticised CIMA 'box capable of changing gear in less than 100 milliseconds using the paddles behind the steering wheel

The hypercar has one of the fastest-shifting transmissions ever, with the seven-speed roboticised CIMA ‘box capable of changing gear in less than 100 milliseconds using the paddles behind the steering wheel

In order to set such an apoplectic top speed, the Tuatara has a twin-turbo charged 5.9-litre V8 engine, producing a massive 1,750bhp on E85 ethanol fuel, or a lesser 1,350bhp using 91 octane unleaded.

Records set by the the SSC Tuatara 

34607762 8858695 image a 37 1603185207429

34607762 8858695 image a 37 1603185207429

– Fastest Production Vehicle at 316.11mph  

– Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road at 313.12mph

– Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road at 321.35mph

Highest Speed Achieved on a Public Road at 331.15mph 

Unlike rival hypercars, all the power is sent only to the rear wheels, putting enormous stresses through the rubber fitted to the back wheels. 

It also has one of the fastest-shifting transmissions ever put into a road car, with the seven-speed roboticised CIMA ‘box capable of changing gear in less than 100 milliseconds.

It is built on a carbon fibre monocoque chassis, and the lightweight material is also used for the car’s body. As a result, it tips the scales at a mere 1,247 kilogram – which is around the same bulk as a Ford Fiesta supermini.

Because no vehicle can be deemed a hypercar unless it has crazy doors, the ones on the Tuatara are dihederal – though they’re power operated, opening and closing at the push of a button.

Despite hitting an incredible speed of 331mph on a closed public road, Webb claims the Tuatara could have gone even quicker.

‘There was definitely more in there. And with better conditions, I know we could have gone faster,’ the British driver, who competes in the FIA World Endurance series, said. 

‘As I approached 331 mph, the Tuatara climbed almost 20mph within the last five seconds. It was still pulling well. As I told Jerod, the car wasn’t running out of steam yet. The crosswinds are all that prevented us from realising the car’s limit.’

In order to set a record fastest speed, attempting cars and their maker’s need to adhere to a number of strict rules. 

Because no vehicle can be deemed a hypercar unless it has crazy doors, the ones on the Tuatara are dihederal - though they're power operated, opening and closing at the push of a button

Because no vehicle can be deemed a hypercar unless it has crazy doors, the ones on the Tuatara are dihederal - though they're power operated, opening and closing at the push of a button

Because no vehicle can be deemed a hypercar unless it has crazy doors, the ones on the Tuatara are dihederal – though they’re power operated, opening and closing at the push of a button

Unlike rival hypercars, all the power is sent only to the rear wheels, putting enormous stresses through the rubber fitted to the back wheels

Unlike rival hypercars, all the power is sent only to the rear wheels, putting enormous stresses through the rubber fitted to the back wheels

Unlike rival hypercars, all the power is sent only to the rear wheels, putting enormous stresses through the rubber fitted to the back wheels

It is the second time SSC has held the record for the Fastest Production Car in the world. In previously took the title in 2007 with the Ultimate Aero, which also took the crown from Bugatti, with the Veyron setting the record in 2005

It is the second time SSC has held the record for the Fastest Production Car in the world. In previously took the title in 2007 with the Ultimate Aero, which also took the crown from Bugatti, with the Veyron setting the record in 2005

It is the second time SSC has held the record for the Fastest Production Car in the world. In previously took the title in 2007 with the Ultimate Aero, which also took the crown from Bugatti, with the Veyron setting the record in 2005

The vehicle used must be a production vehicle, so identical to cars customers will be able to purchase using conventional fuel and road tyres.

The recorded speed must be clocked while driving the same route in opposite directions, conducted within an hour of each other and the average of the top speeds on each run used as the overall figure. 

This is in order to take into account the wind and road grade that may have favored the vehicle as travelling in only one direction – a stipulation Bugatti didn’t adhere to in 2019 when it tried to stake claim to the title for the Chiron Supersport

In order to be recognised as the fastest production car, the vehicle used must be identical to cars customers will be able to purchase using conventional fuel and road tyres

In order to be recognised as the fastest production car, the vehicle used must be identical to cars customers will be able to purchase using conventional fuel and road tyres

In order to be recognised as the fastest production car, the vehicle used must be identical to cars customers will be able to purchase using conventional fuel and road tyres

The US hypercar is built on a carbon fibre monocoque chassis, and the lightweight material is also used for the car's body. As a result, it tips the scales at a mere 1,247 kilogram - which is around the same bulk as a Ford Fiesta supermini

The US hypercar is built on a carbon fibre monocoque chassis, and the lightweight material is also used for the car's body. As a result, it tips the scales at a mere 1,247 kilogram - which is around the same bulk as a Ford Fiesta supermini

The US hypercar is built on a carbon fibre monocoque chassis, and the lightweight material is also used for the car’s body. As a result, it tips the scales at a mere 1,247 kilogram – which is around the same bulk as a Ford Fiesta supermini 

The Tuatara was first announced in 2011, though the production-ready hypercar wasn't shown until the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Just 100 will be made, each expected to cost in the region of £1million

The Tuatara was first announced in 2011, though the production-ready hypercar wasn't shown until the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Just 100 will be made, each expected to cost in the region of £1million

The Tuatara was first announced in 2011, though the production-ready hypercar wasn’t shown until the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Just 100 will be made, each expected to cost in the region of £1million

Bugatti’s Chiron Supersport top speed run of 2019 and why its claim for fastest road car is in question 

Iconic French brand Bugatti staked claim to the world's top speed for a production car in August last year. However, it was found to have failed to adhere to rules for setting land speed records

Iconic French brand Bugatti staked claim to the world's top speed for a production car in August last year. However, it was found to have failed to adhere to rules for setting land speed records

Iconic French brand Bugatti staked claim to the world’s top speed for a production car in August last year. However, it was found to have failed to adhere to rules for setting land speed records 

The record speed needs to be an average of the highest speeds set in both directions of the same track. Bugatti confirmed last year that it only drove in one direction

The record speed needs to be an average of the highest speeds set in both directions of the same track. Bugatti confirmed last year that it only drove in one direction

The record speed needs to be an average of the highest speeds set in both directions of the same track. Bugatti confirmed last year that it only drove in one direction 

Bugatti announced it had smashed through the 300mph barrier in a road car on 2 August 2019 – the first time any manufacturer has officially accomplished the feat in a type-approved model that can legally be used on the street.

Its modified and tuned £4.2million Chiron Supersport 300+ hypercar – with Briton Andy Wallace at the wheel – was clocked at a speed of 304.77mph at a test track in Germany, beating the previous record set two years ago by almost 27mph.

But while the speed run was verified by the TÜV, Germany’s Technical Inspection Association, the legitimacy of the achievement has been cast into doubt.

That’s because The Guinness Book of World Records refuses to acknowledged Bugatti’s figure – and it’s all because of one major technicality.

The awarding body stipulates that a land speed figure is only eligible if it has been set over two runs on the same course in opposite directions within an hour of each other. 

An average of the highest speeds hit in both directions is then taken as the final figure. 

Bugatti’s problem is that the 304.77mph speed measured at the Volkswagen Group’s test circuit at Ehra-Lessien in Germany was only set driving in one direction.

The car maker said it couldn't use the VW test track in both directions due to safety concerns, as decades of vehicles careering around the test track in a clockwise direction had modified the tarmac

The car maker said it couldn't use the VW test track in both directions due to safety concerns, as decades of vehicles careering around the test track in a clockwise direction had modified the tarmac

The car maker said it couldn’t use the VW test track in both directions due to safety concerns, as decades of vehicles careering around the test track in a clockwise direction had modified the tarmac

The car maker said this was a safety call, as decades of vehicles careering around the test track in a clockwise direction has modified the tarmac.

It said a run in the opposite direction would go against the grain of the surface, which could cause the tyres to overheat.

With very little in terms of run-off areas – and banked curves at the end of the straights – the hypercar brand says it was restricted by the limits of its own test facility. 

It meant that Koenigsegg was officially still recognised by Guinness as holding the record road car speed of 277.87mph, set in an Agera RS in 2017, before SSC’s attempt this month.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Koenigsegg Agera RS as the fastest road car on the planet, with a speed of 277.87mph set in 2017 over two runs in Nevada

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Koenigsegg Agera RS as the fastest road car on the planet, with a speed of 277.87mph set in 2017 over two runs in Nevada

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Koenigsegg Agera RS as the fastest road car on the planet, with a speed of 277.87mph set in 2017 over two runs in Nevada

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Hope for first-time buyers as YBS launches 90% mortgages

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hope for first time buyers as ybs launches 90 mortgages

First-time buyers squeezed by the mortgage crunch have been given another ray of hope as Yorkshire Building Society launches home loans for borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit. 

The move from one of Britain’s biggest building societies is better news for borrowers who have seen nine in ten of the mortgages for those with a 10 per cent deposit available in March wiped off the market – leaving just 71 deals from a handful of lenders.

But with a 3.69 per cent two-year fixed rate and 3.79 per cent five-year fixed rate, the YBS deals will cost borrowers considerably more than what’s on offer to those with bigger deposits.

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Two-year fixed rates are on offer below 1.3 per cent and five-year fixes below 1.5 per cent for those with buying with 40 per cent deposits. 

The YBS deals are aimed at first-time buyers and existing homeowners with less equirt who want to move house or remortgage.

Banks and building societies slashed high loan-to-value mortgages after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown hit. 

Many blamed the volume of demand for mortgage holidays, combined with staff working at home, but they are also concerned about negative equity if house prices fall and job losses that could see borrowers struggle to pay their mortgage.

Ben Merritt, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society said: ‘We’re committed to supporting borrowers with smaller deposits and are really pleased to offer these mortgages again – there’s certainly been a gap in this part of the market for some months.

‘Thanks to the hard work of our front line colleagues we now feel we’re in a better position to continue supporting existing borrowers who need a payment holiday and launch mortgages for new customers, while maintaining the high standard of service our customers expect.’

Is YBS’s mortgage a good deal?

YBS is offering a 3.69 per cent two-year fixed rate with a £995 product fee for home purchases and remortgages. 

What about the self-employed?

The self-employed do qualify for YBS’ 90 per cent product – even if they’ve been granted support by the government.

Merritt says: ‘Yes, we continue to accept applications from self-employed customers who have taken government support. 

‘We may however, need to request additional documents to confirm the income is sustainable for an applicant’s individual circumstances.’

It also offers a 3.79 per cent five-year fixed rate with a £995 product fee for home purchases and remortgages. 

All its house purchase mortgages come with a free standard valuation, and those looking to remortgage get paid legal fees.

But the rate is not the lowest out there though. 

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, says: ‘These are competitively priced and may well attract borrowers looking to save on the upfront cost of their deal as they come with a free valuation and allow borrowers to add the product fee to the mortgage advance.

‘For first-time buyers there are alternative deals to consider in the market such as Nationwide, of which their two-year fixed is priced at 3.49 per cent and their five-year at 3.54 per cent both with free valuation and £500 cashback incentive.’

The Yorkshire’s intermediary arm, Accord Mortgages, also offers a range of 90 per cent LTV mortgages.

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages says: ‘Other lenders like Nationwide, Metro Bank, Platform and Virgin Money are some of the other lenders that currently offer 90 per cent deals and others have dipped in and out with products when possible. Atom Bank has just launched some rates today.’

Borrowers considering a 90 per cent mortgage will pay much more than before the pandemic.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Sadly, the lack of availability means borrowers have seen high LTV rates rise. 

‘Twelve months ago, 90 per cent two-year fixes were available from less than two per cent but now the equivalent products cost well over three per cent, despite rock-bottom interest rates.’

Those considering waiting for a better deal or more options may have to wait a bit, although things have improved slightly.

Since March 701 of the available 90 per cent LTV products have been axed – leaving just 78 on the market – a slight increase from the 56 available at the beginning of the month. 

Twelve months ago, 90 per cent two-year fixes were available from less than 2 per cent but now the equivalent products cost well over  3 per cent 

But even though more lenders are willing to put their toe in the water, Springall believes that the return of the 90 per cent deals will be a gradual process.

She says: ‘It’s a great sign when you have the likes of YBS coming on and available to everyone but building societies are very different to banks.

‘It will take time for other lenders to follow their lead. That’s why we’ll see certain lenders like Atom Bank offering to just first-time borrowers and buyers and then if this works they will have deals available to those that want to remortage.’

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Will the mortgage remain on the market?

This year has seen a few 90 per cent LTV lenders enter the market only for those offers to disappear following hype and an influx of applications.

YBS’s product is likely to be a popular offering given its competitive rate. 

Merritt says there’s no current restriction on the number of applicants the building society is willing to take on.

He explains: ‘We don’t have a set threshold for these products, but we will continue to monitor our service levels to ensure we continue to offer the high levels of service our customers expect.’

YBS says it’s able to offer qualifying customers a mortgage in 15 days, which means that borrowers will be able to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

Merritt says: ‘There are still a number of months to go before the stamp duty holiday deadline. 

‘On average we provide customers with a mortgage offer in less than 15 days, but of course there are a number of factors involved with the wider house buying process that could affect completion timescales, out of our control.’

What type of homes can I buy?

There are some types of properties that Yorkshire Building Society won’t lend on. These include:

· Pre-cast re-enforced concrete properties, designated under the Housing Act 1985, unless they have been repaired by PRC Homes Ltd, a subsidiary of the NHBC.

· Local Authority multi-storey blocks

· Dwellings constructed by timber, i.e., not clad with brick, stone etc, including  log cabin/chalet type of construction

· Single brick (single skin) construction

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Bitcoin price: Why has it fallen 12.5% in a day?

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Bitcoin’s seemingly unstoppable surge towards an all-time high and a $20,000 price tag went into reverse as holders tried to cash in their gains for a profit.

The price of the cryptocurrency plummeted more than 12 per cent over the last 24 hours from a peak of $19,374 a coin on Wednesday to $16,858, according to figures from Coindesk.

Fellow cryptocurrencies like ethereum and ripple have also plunged in price over the last 24 hours, while bitcoin’s fall was its sharpest since the start of September.

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

It had looked set to break its all-time high of around $19,500, set in December 2017, driven by a series of good news stories, endorsements from institutional investors and continued money printing by central banks. 

The fact the price of the cryptocurrency had risen from just under $8,000 in January to the verge of $20,000 a coin without serious interest from casual investors had led some to argue the boom this time around was here to stay for a while yet.

This is Money has previously reported on the factors driving the cryptocurrency’s rise, including endorsements by the likes of PayPal and JP Morgan, which said it could possibly compete with gold as an alternative store of value. 

However, this positivity has been somewhat dented by the sudden plunge in the bitcoin price, which appeared to be the result of a massive sell-off by high net worth holders of the cryptocurrency.

The sharp drop is yet more proof of the cryptocurrency’s volatility and why This is Money warns casual investors looking to buy into it that they need to do their research and be careful beforehand.

According to bitcoin analysts Glassnode, the number of investors holding at least 1,000 bitcoin reached an all-time high this week, with the concentration of large sums of the cryptocurrency in the hands of a small number of investors giving them a significant influence on the market.

Another analyst, Ki Young Ju, wrote on the social media platform Twitter that these holders of large sums of bitcoin had sold off their holdings, causing the price to fall.

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year 

And one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, said traders were being hit by connectivity issues as they tried to make purchases or sell-off their holdings. The San Francisco-based exchange said it had found and fixed the problem.

Responding to the sudden drop, Glen Goodman, the author of the book The Crypto Trader, said: ‘When Bitcoin approached $20,000 in 2017, more people were queueing up to buy it than ever before.

‘Many of those buyers have been holding their investment – in varying degrees of misery – ever since.

‘The pressure now, not least from their long-suffering partners, is to sell and finally break even on their investments.

‘With their fingers hovering over the “sell” button, when the price started retreating slowly down to $19,000 and then $18,500, it led to a flurry of panic sellers grabbing their chance to break even, and those sellers caused the price to crash fast.’

However, he still said the long-term picture for the cryptocurrency was ‘very positive’, despite the possibility of ‘a lot more price volatility in the near future’.

He added: ‘This appears so far to be a healthy correction in a big bull market. In my opinion, only a fall to $10,000 would put that bullish narrative in question.’

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Just FOUR councils applied to use a new hedgehog warning road sign

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just four councils applied to use a new hedgehog warning road sign

A new traffic sign launched by the Department for Transport for councils to display on roads with high populations of hedgehogs, badgers, otters and other small animals has received a prickly response with just one per cent of authorities applying to use it.

The sign, unveiled last year, displays one of the spiky creatures in a red warning triangle and was designed to help preserve dwindling hedgehog numbers and reduce the number of people injured in collisions involving animals.

However, This is Money can exclusively reveal that all four councils who did apply to erect the signs were denied permission because they did not provide enough evidence to the DfT that they have a high concentration of the animals in their areas.

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Of the 343 councils that could have requested to display the signs on their roads, only Newcastle City Council, Middlesbrough Council, Surrey County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council applied, according to an Freedom of Information request by the AA.

All four subsequently had their applications denied, the DfT confirmed.

The department clarified that all four had ‘failed to evidence any concentrations of small animals habitually in the road, or provide any accident data’.

Councils and animal conservationists will query how they can feasibly provide evidence of hedgehogs being at risk on their roads. 

‘Rejection of the applications based on failing to provide adequate evidence conjures up all sorts of weird scenarios: council officers counting the bodies or sending off the evidence in jiffy bags,’ said an AA spokesman. 

He added: ‘Common sense suggests that, if cash-strapped councils are prepared to fork out the money for the signs and the manpower to erect them, there is probably the local need for them.’

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The decision to deny these authorities will has left the British Hedgehog Preservation Society bristling in frustration.

Hedgehog numbers have plummeted in recent years, halving in volume since 2000.

The animals now find themselves on the Red List of endangered UK species.  

Fay Vass, chief executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, told This is Money: ‘We are disappointed that more authorities aren’t applying for the small mammal signs that feature a hedgehog and that the DfT are rejecting those that do. 

‘We know from interaction with the public that these signs would be very welcome in many areas where hedgehog road casualty counts are high. 

‘In the meantime, we produce a sign that can be purchased for display on private property, but we very much hope that the official signs will soon begin to be erected in the spirit they were intended. 

‘They are important to warn people that small animals might be on the road in that area, not only for the sake of the animal, but to help reduce risk for drivers too.’

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The new traffic warning sign was launched in 2019 by former transport secretary Chris Grayling, including a bespoke announcement and plenty of fanfare around the sign. 

It was unveiled as the DfT said hundreds of people are injured every year in collisions involving animals in the road, claiming that 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and 4 people were killed in 2017 alone. 

Mr Grayling called on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.  

He said: ‘The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.’ 

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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