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48

www.concrete.org.uk

M

ǘǰ ǻǹǺȀ

concrete

I

n 1977, a man called Nigel Reeve made

a remarkable discovery on a suburban

golf course in Middlesex – a discovery

that would profoundly change our

understanding of the hedgehog, that spiny

national treasure. For decades, people had

considered hedgehogs as parochial animals

with lives that were assumed to be limited to

the confines of one or two gardens. Through

radio-tracking wild hedgehogs, Reeve

discovered that they travel between 1 and

2km each night looking for food and mates,

passing through many gardens.

Hedgehogs are not very agile creatures and

cannot climb or dig; hence they frequently

encounter barriers in suburban landscapes.

We now understand that modern fencing

systems – especially larch lap fences with

concrete gravel boards – are a real problem for

them. There is a huge opportunity here for

the concrete industry to help in the fight to

save this iconic mammal.

The state of Britain’s hedgehogs

Until quite recently, very little was known

about the state of our hedgehog population,

principally because nobody was monitoring

them.We

now have long-running mammal

surveys that record hedgehogs in both rural

and urban areas, and these data sets tell a

sorry story. Since 2001, indices suggest that

perhaps a third of all urban hedgehogs have

been lost – that’s one in three hedgehogs

lost from towns and cities, where most

people live

(1)

. The combination of pavement,

artificial grass and impermeable fences and

walls has forced hedgehogs out of gardens

where they were once abundant.

Highways for hedgehogs

Hedgehog Street was set up in 2011 and is

a joint campaign between People’s Trust for

Endangered Species (PTES) and the British

Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS).

Hedgehog Street has pioneered the

How concrete is key to saving our

declining British hedgehogs

Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets.

(Photo:Dave Cooper/Hedgehog Street.)

The concrete industry can help in the fight to protect and save one of

Britain’s iconicmammals.

Henry Johnson

of

Hedgehog Street

reports.