Developers told to build hedgehog highways

After a long campaign – and a petition signed by more than 550,000 people – the government has told developers to do more to protect hedgehogs and other wildlife.

They’ve been advised to include more hedgehog highways in new home estates.

And, to use special hollow swift bricks to allow the summer visitors to nest safely.

Housebuilders have been told to consider the long-term impact of their developments on the local eco-system – both during and after construction.

They’ve also been asked to come up with innovative ways to allow nature to thrive – including drainage areas to create wetlands for birds and amphibians.

And, there’s a call for builders to plant more trees and meadows.

The measures were recently announced by the department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

A spokesman said: “Building the new homes this country needs must not come at the detriment of our natural heritage.

“It’s right that as we deliver houses for people, we must also provide homes for wildlife too – whether that’s for hedgehogs, frogs, newts or birds.

“The public have told us that protecting wildlife is important to them – so my message to house builders is to harness this support and get building in a way that protects the environment for the next generation.”

Janet Peto of Hedgehog Welfare welcomed the government’s decision.

She said: “This is something we’ve campaigned for over many years.

“Hedgehogs like to roam at night and often find themselves unable to find their way out of fenced gardens.”

More than 550,000 people signed a petition organised by ecologist Hugh Warwick.

The new government guidelines explain how a “hedgehog highway” can be created by making space for hedgehogs to roam through back gardens, allowing them to seek food and habitat to nest.

This can range from making small holes in the base of garden fences to removing the fences entirely, creating a free-flowing green space.

Swift bricks are installed into the outer wall of a new home during the construction process, allowing the birds to nest peacefully once the home is completed.


About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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