CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save rabbits on the Canford Bottom roundabout from being killed before work begins to broaden the A31 have vowed to fight on.

Highways Agency bosses recently turned down a petition from 12-year-old Joe Payne asking for the rabbits to be relocated rather than being caught and put down.

Lynnette Payne, Joe’s mother, told the Echo: “My son is devastated.

“I just feel the Highways Agency is taking the least line of thought.

“They are hiding behind bureaucracy and it suits them not to have to think any further on the subject, but we will fight on.”

She added: “The most ironic thing is they plan to do it in the spring.

“The babies are born blind and placed away from the burrows.

“The chances are that they will be missed.”

The Highways Agency plans to build a dual-carriageway section through the Canford Bottom roundabout, which will link the A31 with a so-called “Hamburger” junction.

Work will begin in Spring if funding is available.

Jane Manning, senior press officer with the Highways Agency, said the planned scheme would involve major structural changes to the roundabout.

“The rabbits would be at risk from construction machinery and the close proximity of the work would cause them trauma, presenting a danger to themselves and road users.

“If the scheme goes ahead, to prevent this, prior to any work we would trap and humanely kill them.

“We wish to assure petitioners the decision regarding the control measures for rabbits on Canford Bottom Roundabout has not been taken lightly.

“The Highways Agency is committed to understanding and minimising the environmental impact of its activities. We take our responsibilities very seriously,” she said.

Colehill councillor, Janet Dover, who represents residents on town, district, and county councils, said campaigners were disappointed by the decision of the Highways Agency.