A battle is on to slow traffic in a village – to save red squirrels from being run over.
People at Longhirst Colliery, near Morpeth, are keen to preserve its population of red squirrels, with some of the creatures having been killed on a road said to be blighted by speeding drivers.
Tonight, councillors will consider their petition for speed humps to safeguard both humans and squirrels.
Locals last night told how they have for years campaigned for humps, telling how motorists – in particular boy racers – speed on one long stretch of road past their homes at Straker Terrace.
George Humble said there had been four deaths of red squirrels crossing the road since the middle of last year, despite him having paid for and erected signs warning drivers to slow down.
Mr Humble told how residents had approached their Northumberland County Councillor Alan Sambrook.
He urged them to mount a petition to the authority calling for speed humps, which 30 residents signed.
The county’s North Area committee is to consider the petition tonight.
Mr Humble, 75 and who has lived at the colliery 30 years, feeds the squirrels. He said: “Cars come round pretty quick. We have asked for speed humps before but never got any.
“That would be handy but we have not had any word. Everybody down the colliery here signed the form for it.
“I would like to see them put in because we have got red squirrels now and we have had them a few years. We have had them killed on this section of the road.
“It is just a country road, there is no need for people to come flying around.”
Coun Sambrook, Labour member for Pegswood, claimed the council will agree to place three speed humps along the road, subject to the area committee giving the go-ahead tonight.
He said: “Hopefully it will go through.”
A report to tonight’s meeting states: “A petition has been received from 30 residents of Longhirst Colliery, requesting speed humps to ensure the safety of both residents and red squirrels.
“The local ward member has indicated he is willing to consider funding speed humps from his Local Improvement Schemes budget.
“Investigation has shown that only part of the road in Longhirst Colliery is adopted highway.”