Hedgehog highways to protect endangered species

New government guidelines will work to protect endangered hedgehogs

A hedgehog in the garden

House builders will now include ‘hedgehog highways’ in new housing developments, following a British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) petition.

The change.org petition, which has 583,000 signatures, was set up to ensure that the fences surrounding new housing developments include small holes or ‘hedgehog highways’ that the nation’s favourite animal can pass through freely.

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Hedgehog image

Research funded by Hedgehog Street, a collaborative project between BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), has shown that hedgehogs need considerable areas of unfragmented land to be able to thrive.

The 13cm fence gaps – the size of a CD case – will now feature in all new developments, meaning hogs are less likely to get stuck in high traffic areas.

Hedgehog in the garden (Photo by: Yuri Smityuk via Getty Images)
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society hope that new guidelines will help to preserve the vulnerable hedgehog population

The announcement comes following a meeting between Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, and BHPS spokesperson Hugh Warwick, who asked the government to add the hedgehog highway condition to planning guidelines.

These guidelines now say that house builders “should think about the long-term impact of their developments on the local ecosystem, both during and after construction.”

Hugh Warwick said, “The fact that we’ve got the government to change planning law is a great victory for hedgehogs and also for the wildlife-loving public who put their considerable political muscle behind this campaign.”

Hedgehog (Photo by: Maren Winter via Getty Images)
Modern housing tends to come with impenetrable fences, but this announcement will ensure that small holes in the base of fences come as standard (Photo by: Maren Winter via Getty Images)

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the BHPS said, “We’ve been campaigning to protect hedgehogs for 37 years now and this is one of the most significant breakthroughs we’ve had. Hedgehog numbers are declining dramatically – and house building is set to increase dramatically.”

She continued, “Hedgehogs are the nation’s favourite animal – they top polls time and time again!  We can do so much to help them by making our gardens hedgehog friendly. But unless the hedgehogs can get in – then the gardens are useless to these wonderful, charismatic creatures.”

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Find out more about how you can make your garden hedgehog friendly here.