Carmarthenshire County Council and partners have improved otter safety at a busy road along the A484 near Kidwelly with the installation of an underground pipe.
The recently installed pipe at Commissioners’ Bridge on the outskirts of Kidwelly will enable local otters to bypass the A484 and travel safely upstream along the Gwendreath river, where previously otters have been forced to leave the river and cross the busy A484 road due to tidal flaps at the bridge. Fencing to guide the otters into the pipe has also been installed.
The project has been made possible by funding from National Grid and Welsh Government as well as partnership working between Kidwelly Town Council and Carmarthenshire County Council.
Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability said: “I’m delighted that otter safety has been improved along the A484 at Commissioners’ Bridge as a result of partnership working.
“This area was previously considered a black spot for otter safety and I hope that the installation of the new underground pipe will greatly improve the safety of the otter population in this area.”
David Scott, Senior Land Officer at National Grid, said: “Minimising our environmental impact and supporting wildlife and habitats on or around our infrastructure is a crucial element of our approach here at National Grid. We are delighted to work with a number of partners to help part fund this tunnel for the protection of otters in Carmarthenshire and hope to see it make a positive impact on the overall otter population.”
Becky Clews-Roberts Specialist Advisor – Terrestrial Mammals for NRW said:
“Otter road deaths can have a significant impact on local populations, especially if it is a female otter with dependant cubs that succumbs.”
“We welcome the completion of this work which should benefit the local otter population and help prevent further declines.”
The site will be monitored to how soon the otters adapt to using this safe passage under the road.
Deaths of otters caused by road traffic collisions have long thought to be a concern for otters in Wales. Otter populations across Britain have been gradually recovering from significant declines in the 1970s. However, the last Welsh National Survey for Otters in 2021 showed a slight decline in population so action to support this protected species is important.