RESIDENTS are being urged to be respectful of wildlife, as well as social distancing guidelines, as lockdown restrictions are lifted by central government.

Test Valley Borough Council is leading the calls after it reopened car parks to the borough’s beauty spots in mid-May, in line with the government’s initial easing of lockdown restrictions.

And as those restrictions continue to loosen, the council says there will of course be more opportunities for residents to enjoy their local area - but it is reminding people to remember to be considerate of wildlife.

The authority is urging dog-walkers to keep their dogs under effective control or on a lead across nature reserves, to ensure that wildlife is undisturbed.

Portfolio holder for Community and Leisure, Councillor Ian Jeffrey, said: “At this time of year, there are also many water birds with vulnerable young and often use our nature reserves to raise their offspring.

“Whilst the vast majority of residents and visitors are respectful of wildlife, we must all work together to help the animals that call the borough their home, feel safe.”

Signage has been erected highlighting nesting areas, with additional signage displaying the government’s most recent advice for safely using green spaces and how to social distancing guidance can be followed when outside.

Cllr Jeffrey added: “As we see more restrictions lifted by central government, we are all enjoying more time in our nature reserves and green spaces.

“The government have issued guidance to help everyone keep safe by following social distancing whilst enjoying the outdoors. These guidelines are reflected in our signage around the borough.”