NEWS AND VIEWS: A couple has successfully encouraged the housebuilding giant Taylor Wimpey to accommodate the movement of hedgehogs on a new development that they are building by incorporating holes in fences at ground level. Caroline and Chris Paxton started an online petition which gathered 1,600 signatures which was inspired by a nationwide campaign to protect this beloved species, the population of which has fallen by up to 95% since World War II.
Taylor Wimpey have agreed to build hedgehog doorways at their new development in Crawshawbooth, Lancashire. Mr and Mrs Paxton now want them to do something similar at another scheme which apparently is controversial where the builder intends to construct 131 houses near where Mr and Mrs Paxton live. This development is subject to planning permission.
The petition states that the new development should include hedgehog highways which are 13 cm holes in fences allowing hedgehogs to move freely between gardens to mate and find food. They argue that it is a simple thing for a big housing builder to do and I suspect that they also believe that it should be done automatically across the country by all housebuilders.
We know that there is a huge amount of pressure on housebuilders to house an increased human population in the UK and therefore this is a timely moment to get them to do this sort of thing in the interests of wildlife conservation. At the moment hedgehog highways are not mandatory but they are recommended under the national planning framework.
Mrs Paxton thinks that it is an easy thing for housebuilders to do and I agree with her. There is a national hedgehog highway petition on the change.org website started by the conservationist Hugh Warwick which has more than 961,000 signatures. He believes that the hedgehog is the nation’s favourite species. He was told by a housebuilder that it would cost 50p per house to build the hedgehog highways in fences. There, it is easy to do.