Many thanks to those who have contacted me about the protection of hedgehogs.
I am aware of a petition to list the hedgehog as a protected species. The Government has responded that this would not be appropriate as there is little evidence that this is the best approach to benefit the conservation of the species.
Hedgehogs are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 from being killed using prohibited methods such as crossbows, traps and snares. The Government has concerns that further protections for hedgehogs may have unintended consequences, in part because there is no evidence that intentionally killing, taking or injuring hedgehogs is currently an issue.
The 25 Year Environment Plan sets out the Government’s ambition for nature recovery and our threatened and iconic species. The reasons for the decline in numbers of this native species are complex. It is therefore welcome that the Government is committed to creating or restoring 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat to provide benefits for species such as the hedgehog.
Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship will also provide funding to restore, extend and link important habitats and boost food resources for our native species. On top of this, the revised National Planning Policy Framework sets out how the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by providing net gains for biodiversity.