Access for Hedgehogs
and there are many reasons for this which you can find out more on our Hedgehog Ecology Page.
However we also seem to be continuously putting obstacles in their way which with a little forethought can easily be avoided.
An urban hedgehog will during the course of its nightly foraging travel around a mile and a quarter visiting a number of gardens looking for insects, something to drink and for suitable places to make a home. Sadly hedgehogs are finding this increasingly difficult in many urban areas due to new housing developments.
Not only has the traditional hedge become too much of a bother to maintain with the resultant loss of habitat for hedgehogs, birds and insects but the wooden fence has been made totally impenetrable by the addition of concrete gravel boards. It would seem that our gardens are to be separated entirely from anything on four legs.
For example in our surrounding area there are at present at least four new developments in areas with traditionally large gardens where now they are to become around 150 smaller gardens with yes, you guessed it, impenetrable gravel boards.
2014 Update- we are now aware of another 4 or 5 new developments in planning.
These are areas we know have good hedgehog populations but this segregation of gardens will put severe pressures on these populations reducing the area available to them for foraging and finding places to nest. Inevitably it also forces them to navigate more roads to find access to open gardens where they run the risk of being another squashed hedgehog at the side of the road.
This is a local snapshot of what it a national issue, but with your support we aim to change the fortunes of hedgehogs country wide.
On starting this project back in early 2013 we tried to speak to the local developers and to be frank the level of interest about doing something about access for hedgehogs in general was nil. However we intended to change this and since then things have started to change and developers and fencing manufacturers have started to come on board with us.
One small local small scale development put in access gaps for hedgehogs and the gardens there now have hedgehogs visiting. Proof in any were needed that this small change makes a big difference and the old adage of 'provide for and they will come' holds very true.
The solution to the problem is neither vastly time consuming or costly.
on speaking to one contractor he told us that it would take him about 10 minutes per garden to put in place the simple solution we suggested.
What is this solution that initially made developers pretend to be out of the office or far too busy to speak to us?
It is a 4 - 5" hole in one gravel board per garden which is enough to allow a hedgehog to access all of the gardens and that wouldn't cause an issue for a pet such as a dog.
Hedgehogs really need all of us to be on their side if we are to try and reverse the drastic decline in their numbers. We are trying to raise awareness of this situation and we hope that you will join us in lobbying councils, planners, developers and builders to make this a standard practice.
All we want is for our native and iconic European Hedgehog to be able to continue living alongside us in areas where it has always lived but now finds itself without a home as the gardens are now segregated to the point of no access at all.
If you live in an existing development where you have gravel boards then you can give hedgehogs access by simply cutting a 4 - 5" square hole in a gravel board, even better if you can get your neighbours to do the same.
We are started an epetition back in 2013 however the odds of getting the 100,000 signatures was to be frank slim, however it helped us to gain interest in this situation. Many thanks to everyone who did sign the now closed petition.
News & Updates
Bovis Homes in discussion with us have agreed to pilot Access for Hedgehogs in Worcestershire. On review this could be rolled out to all Bovis builds in the UK.
“Maintaining and enhancing local ecology and sustainability is extremely important to us and we do our utmost to ensure that the needs of even the smallest of local residents are taken care of. This is why the ecological corridor is such a feature of this unique development and will hopefully be something we can include in plans for future sites.”
Press release from Bovis Homes Bovis Homes Building Hedgehog Habitats
Redrow Homes in discussion with us have agreed to include Access for Hedgehogs in new developments throughout the Midlands.
"Redrow are more than happy to work with Willows Hedgehog Rescue with developments within the Midlands area in providing access holes to be put in fencing for hedgehogs"
They want us to meet them and their ecological consultants so the changes can be built into their documentation and rolled out.
Newlands Homes have agreed to include access for hedgehogs in their new development in Oakalls Bromsgrove. Re-evaluating the build to find the best way to give access routes.
We have been in discussions with several more developers and concenring several more developments and we will be including further information on these as talks progress.
We have have recently spoken to a fencing manufacturer and they are making a hedgehog friendly relacement gravel board to retail to the building industry and to the public. We are at present awaiting a sample and will update once we have this.
Public & MP Support
We are pleased that we now have Mike Weatherley MP and Nikki Sinclaire MEP showing interest and talking to us with regards to helping us champion this cause. We will update as and when the situation progresses.
Update 19 March 2014
The letter has now been sent out to local authorities in the Midlands region by Nikki Sinclaire MEP and it will be interesting to see what the response is from individual authorities. Nikki has written asking local authorities to consider Access for Hedgehogs in developments and also to consider leaving habitat on verges and in green spaces and parks.
I am now in the process of writing a letter regarding Access for Hedgehogs issues in new builds which Mike Weatherley MP is then going to compose a cover letter for and submit to the minister.
We are also continuing to talk to local and regional councils with regards to Access for Hedgehogs in New Build Planning.
We are continuing to work with the media to promote wildlife friendly gardening and Access for Hedgehogs.
We are working on two information flyers this year for; Gardening for Wildlife and Access for Hedgehogs.
Does it work?
We know it works but we thought that it might be nice to be able to promote peoples experiences, so we are going to post some of these here.
Thanks & Contractor List/Status.
Thank you to The Green Party, Spikes World, Ark Wildlife for helping us to spread the message via tweets etc.
Thank you to a number of other hedgehog rescues for taking this campaign on board and promoting via social media including: Hogfields, HogsPrickle, Howey Hedgehog Rescue, Bradley Stoke Hedgehog Rescue, Prickly Haven Hedgehog Rescue, Woodland Hedgehog Rescue, Epping Forest Hedgehog Rescue, Happy Hedgehog Yateley, RSPCA Worcestershire.
Please let us know if you promote this campaign so we can thank you.
Developers directly spoken to by us:
- Newlands Homes - are now considering including access for hedgehogs & their technical director has agreed to include access for hedgehogs in their new Oakalls development in Bromsgrove.
- Bellwell Developments - emailed- awaiting response.
- Bromsgrove Housing Trust- emailed- awaiting response.
- WM Housing- considering on a development by development .basis
- Knarsboro Homes- are now in discussion with us
- Persimmon Homes- Midlands area will not consider implementing as they are conscerned with pets in garden for example rabbits & guinea pigs.
- Barrat Homes - are now in discussion with us
- Redrow- working with us to provide access for hedgehogs "Redrow are more than happy to work with Willows Hedgehog Rescue with developments within the Midlands area in providing access holes to be put in fencing for hedgehogs"
We have recently printed 5000 Access for Hedgehogs Leaflets and they are in: PDSA, Blue Cross, Just 4 Pets, Smash & Grab, Plaza Coffee, Urban Angel, Oxfam Bookshop Bromsgrove. Thank you to all these stores & shops for helping us to spread the message.
above articles also appeared in other newspapers & publications.
Illustrations & Character "Willow" Copyright CharlieCreek 2013
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