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‘Hedgehog highways’ in new housing developments

22 July 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Image: Dreamstime/Oleksii Kriachko

The government has published new guidance to help protect wildlife during the construction of new homes, including measures such as ‘hedgehog highways’ and hollow 'swift bricks'.

It is urging house builders to consider the long-term impact of their developments on the local ecosystem both during and after construction.

The new guidance sets out how house builders can promote biodiversity by installing swift bricks to allow birds to nest safely in walls, bat boxes, and safe routes for hedgehogs between different areas of habitat by making small holes in the base of garden fences or removing them entirely to create free-flowing green space.

It also suggests measures such as green roofs, green walls, street trees and drainage areas to create wetlands for birds and amphibians.

The move from government follows public interest for supporting British wildlife during construction projects, including one petition receiving the support of over 500,000 people.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “Building the new homes this country needs must not come at the detriment of our natural heritage.

“It’s right that as we deliver houses for people, we must also provide homes for wildlife too - whether that’s for hedgehogs, frogs, newts or birds.

“The public have told us that protecting wildlife is important to them – so my message to house builders is to harness this support and get building in a way that protects the environment for the next generation.”

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