The change comes as a result of a petition set up by Hugh Warwick, of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, which gained more than half a million signatures from people concerned about the sharp decline in numbers of the much loved mammal.
The Communities Minister met with Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, to ask him to add a condition to planning guidelines requiring hedgehog highways be included in new developments.
The resulting announcement said: “From submitting proposals to councils to then building new homes, house builders should think about the long-term impact of their developments on the local ecosystem, both during and after construction.”
“This includes greater emphasis on using innovative ways to allow nature to thrive - such as drainage areas to create attractive wetlands for birds and amphibians to live alongside people.”
Hugh Warwick said,: “The fact we have got the government to change planning law is a great victory for hedgehogs and for the wildlife-loving public who put their political muscle behind this campaign.”
Research funded by Hedgehog Street, a collaborative project between BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, has shown that hedgehogs need considerable areas of unfragmented land to be able to thrive. Modern housing tends to come with impenetrable fences. This announcement will ensure that small holes in the base of fences come as standard. The holes need only be a 13cm square - the size of a CD case. Already manufacturers have made them available to the public for new projects or to retro fit into boundaries.