Hedgehog highways victory for campaigner

| 17th January 2020
Photograph of a hedgehog resting on some grass

Hedgehog street

Pixabay
Wildlife author and ecologist Hugh Warwick wins campaign aimed at helping hedgehogs.

Now that one developer has made the leap there is no good reason for others to not follow.

A national housebuilder has pledged to install hedgehog highways to its existing developments and all future sites following campaigning by wildlife author and ecologist Hugh Warwick and the public.

Bovis Homes is working with the with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) to install the “highways”, which are holes that are created at ground level in fencing and other barriers to allow access between selected gardens and wilder areas. It will also build hedgehog homes in green spaces.

It has also donated £5,000 to the charity and is to support the work of its Hedgehog Street project, which aims to encourage the public to make spaces for hedgehogs in their gardens.

Connectivity

Louise Macrae, regional marketing manager at Bovis Homes said: “Connectivity is vital to allow hedgehogs to find enough food, mates and shelter. There are many simple measures we can all take to help their numbers recover and ensuring easy access to our gardens is a very important step.”

Hedgehogs walk more than a mile every night so need to move around freely between gardens. Bovis Homes will also provide information for customers so they know the best way to help.

Fay Vass, chief executive of BHPS, said welcomed the housebuilder’s move, saying: “Creating holes for hedgehogs in fences and walls is a simple step but it could have a huge impact on the amount of habitat available for hedgehogs following the development of a site.”

Wildlife author and ecologist Hugh Warwick set up an online petition initially to ask the government to change planning law to force developers to install hedgehog highways in new developments.

Promises

However, after 622,000 people signed the petition, with some members of the public contacting developers directly, Bovis Homes decided to get on board.

Warwick said: “We have made one of the largest house builders in the country leap into the world of hedgehog goodness.”

Clearly this is a benefit to more than just hedgehogs and is a starting point in a journey towards (hopefully) more wildlife conscious developments.”

Warwick urged people to continue to lobby housebuilders. “Now that one developer has made the leap there is no good reason for others to not follow.”

The eyes of hedgehog lovers would also be important to check that they live up to their promises, he added.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for The Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

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