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Petition Make hedgehog surveys & mitigation measures compulsory for all new developments.

The way we develop land has a direct impact on hedgehog survival. Preserving existing habitats and incorporating hedgehog-friendly features into new developments are essential for reversing their decline.
Developers must be required to conduct hedgehog surveys & implement mitigation measures.

More details

All development sites must undergo hedgehog surveys by qualified ecologists to inform planning decisions.
Compulsory mitigations must include:
1. Legally require 13cm x 13cm gaps in all new fences & walls to allow hedgehogs to move freely.
2. Protecting existing habitats by prioritising the preservation of hedgerows, scrubland & other natural features crucial for hedgehog survival within development sites.
3. Enforcing responsible practices during construction to minimise impact on hedgehogs.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 May 2024

Defra is working to incorporate nature into development reforms including how planning policy can promote the inclusion of nature-friendly elements, such as hedgehog highways.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act introduces a package of planning reforms, including the introduction of new National Development Management Policies and updates to the National Planning Policy Framework. Defra is working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to incorporate nature into development through better planning for green infrastructure and nature-friendly buildings. These upcoming changes include considering how planning policy can promote the inclusion of nature-friendly elements in the built environment such as hedgehog highways.

Additionally, some developers are voluntarily factoring in hedgehogs in their developments; in partnership with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Bovis Homes has pledged to help hedgehogs by installing Hedgehog Highways in their housing projects. Plans also include putting hedgehog houses in green spaces within developments to increase nesting opportunities for the species.

The Government is committed to taking further action to recover the decline of our native species, including hedgehogs. In England, we have set four legally binding targets; to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030: then to reverse declines by 2042; to reduce the risk of species extinction by 2042; and restore or create more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat, also by 2042. We have set out our plan to deliver on these ambitious targets, along with our other environmental targets, in the revised Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP23). The EIP23 revises the 25-Year Environment Plan as part of our ongoing obligations under the Environment Act 2021.

The decline of hedgehogs is primarily caused by habitat loss and fragmentation due to the removal of field margins, hedgerows, and scrub; the use of herbicides and insecticide; and road traffic. The Environment Act 2021 introduced a number of policies that will support the restoration of habitat for this species. Biodiversity Net Gain, Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS), and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will work together to drive action, including to create or restore habitats that will enable wildlife to recover and thrive, while conservation covenants will help secure habitat for the long term. LNRSs will bring local authorities, communities, landowners, and conservation groups together to agree on priorities to help nature and protect locally and nationally important species. They will also map specific proposals for habitat creation and improvement, such as woodland, heathland, and species-rich grassland, all of which will benefit vulnerable species, including hedgehogs.

In addition, agri-environment schemes have provided a significant source of funding for habitat creation and management for threatened species. Our new environmental land management schemes will provide farmers, foresters, and other land managers with an opportunity to secure financial support in return for delivering environmental benefits. Hedgerows are an important habitat for hedgehogs and their food source. As well as the Countryside Stewardship and Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes, which are funding the creation and restoration of hedgerows, the EIP23 has a commitment to support farmers to create or restore at least 30,000 miles of hedgerows by 2037, increasing to 45,000 miles by 2050.

Defra has worked with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Peoples Trust for Endangered Species to provide advice on five easy ways everyone can help hedgehogs thrive in back gardens. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/five-simple-steps-to-transform-gardens-in-to-hedgehog-havens

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) has considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt the response did not respond directly to the request of the petition. They have therefore asked the Government to provide a revised response.

When the Committee receives a revised response from the Government, we will publish this and share it with you.

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