What a waste! Taxpayers foot £190,000 bill as bridge opens over busy bypass… for DORMICE
They say the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. But in this case, at least the mice will be happy with the outcome.
A cash-strapped council has been criticised for spending £190,000 on a bridge – to allow dormice to cross the road safely.
Bosses at Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in South Wales decided to erect three wire walkways above a new bypass to protect the rodent population.
Dormice will be able to use the bridge’s specially reinforced meshed cages to cross the road safely
They believe the interconnecting passages, which are suspended from 20ft wooden poles, will keep mice away from traffic when the full £90million Church Village bypass between Pontypridd and Talbot Green opens next month.
But critics have said the cost of the project is ‘obscene’ and have accused the council of getting its priorities wrong.
Fiona McEvoy, from the Tax-Payers’ Alliance, said: ‘They may have good intentions but this bill is unjustifiably large and in these straitened times they should have explored less expensive ways of protecting these creatures.’
Nichola Thomas, 34, who lives near the bypass route in Llantrisant-said: ‘There are more pressing issues that the council could be spending money on.
‘I find it absurd that they have spent such an obscene amount of cash on this.’
But Byron Bowden, 27, who lives in the same village, said: ‘ Everybody talks about being greener, but when we finally are people moan.’
A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council also defended the decision, saying: ‘Three bridges have been erected for dormice to safely move from one area to the other, while new ponds have been dug for the relocation of newts and other amphibians.
‘We put up the dormouse bridges, along with 60 dormouse boxes, to help get them from one side of the road to the other.’
They added that the idea for the bridge had come from an ecological survey which was carried out in order to gain planning permission.
The Church Village bypass was first proposed more than 20 years ago, but was only given planning consent in 2006.