Share your thoughts on new hedgehog guidance for developers

Members of the public are being asked for their thoughts on new planning guidelines aimed at helping increase hedgehog numbers across East Cambridgeshire.

The Hedgehog Recovery Design Guidance supplementary planning document – believed to be the first of its kind in the country – asks developers to put measures in place to help hedgehogs when planning new building sites.

This could include incorporating small holes in fences to create Hedgehog Highways so hedgehogs can roam freely from one garden to another.

Habitat fragmentation is one of the factors contributing to hedgehog declines seen in recent years, and Hedgehog Highways can help to alleviate this issue. These small gaps in fences allow hedgehogs to access gardens, which can provide vital foraging and nesting habitat.

The planning guidance also asks developers to provide planting and native hedgerows to create areas where hedgehogs can forage for food and hibernate, as well as installing hedgehog boxes where new homes are being built.

The guidance is being brought in after residents in East Cambridgeshire voted hedgehogs as the animal they would most like the council to focus on as part of its Bring Back Nature campaign.

The consultation is being launched at the start of Hedgehog Awareness Week which runs from 5 to 11 May.

Residents, developers, builders and businesses have four weeks -starting from 3 May – to share their thoughts on the proposals.

Cllr Alan Sharp, chair of the Finance and Assets Committee, said: “Hedgehogs are a fascinating and well-loved native animal, and creating this guidance has two key benefits. As well as requiring developers to take positive measures to support hedgehogs it is also bringing it to the public’s attention that small measures, like hedgehog holes in a fence, can really make a big difference. We hope as many people as possible, and especially developers, will embrace the opportunity to help the recovery of hedgehogs here in East Cambridgeshire, and that they will contribute positively to the consultation.”

Nationally, many housebuilding companies have already pledged their commitment to supporting hedgehogs.

The guidance Is one of a basket of initiatives being adopted by the council to boost hedgehog numbers in the district. Other measures include encouraging the public to be hedgehog heroes and log sightings of hedgehogs on The Big Hedgehog Map, creating hedgehog friendly areas in its parks and opens spaces and educating the public on simple ways they can help hedgehogs in their own gardens.

Full details on how to share your thoughts on the planning proposals can be found on our website.