Hedgehog highways for new developments around Newbury

newbury hedgehog highway

Newbury Town Council has resolved to request that all new developments in Newbury include a 13cm hole in the bottom of fences that allows hedgehogs to move freely between gardens.

In response to a national petition named “Help save Britain’s hedgehogs with ‘hedgehog highways’!”, which highlighted the fact that the hedgehog population is decreasing in large part to their being fenced off into smaller areas. The total hedgehog population is estimated to be down 95% since the 1950s so the Council decided to take action.

At the last Planning & Highways Committee meeting, on 11 July 2022, the Council resolved to adopt a policy of requiring hedgehog-friendly fencing in all housing developments on which the Council is consulted. This fencing would include a 13cm hole in the bottom that allows free movement for hedgehogs to find food and a mate.

Nigel Foot, Chair of the Planning & Highways Committee said that “although the Town Council has already signed up to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s “Hedgehog Heroes” scheme, we felt that more needed to be done to help protect this iconic animal.”

The Council also resolved to lobby the local planning authority, West Berkshire Council, to make hedgehog-friendly fencing a specific condition of the granting of planning permission for housing developments and look to get the need for hedgehog highways identified in the emerging local plan.

Although this requirement would only be for new developments, we would like to encourage all Newbury residents to put holes in their existing fences to help reverse the steep decline of our hedgehog population.

For more information you can contact Councillor Nigel Foot, Vice-Chair Heritage Working Group at nigel.foot@newbury.gov.uk  or Hugh Peacocke, CEO Newbury Town Council at hugh.peacocke@newbury.gov.uk. Alternatively, visit the Newbury Town Council website.

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