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Stretch of the M1 is to be shut in the New Year so dormice aren't disturbed

The hard shoulder is being turned into a fourth lane between junctions 14 and 15A.

Construction lorries can’t park on the verges as that may waken the hibernating endangered mice, so they will wait on the motorway overnight between January 7 and 15.

Contractors need to chop down trees alongside the motorway so the hard shoulder can be safely used by traffic.

But the trees can't be allowed to crash down as the 'thunderclap' noise and the ground-shuddering would wake the slumbering dormice.

If they come out of hibernation before the spring, they are likely to die from the cold.

So the trees must be gently lowered by crane on to a fleet of lorries to be taken away.

Contractors Costain and Galliford Try urged drivers to allow extra time.

A spokesperson for the company said: "We will do our utmost to complete the work as quickly as possible and keep noise and disruption to a minimum."

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