And finally… prickly protection
Dandara East Scotland is launching specially designed ‘hedgehog highways’ at its Eskbank Gardens development in Eskbank, near Dalkeith.
Britain’s hedgehogs have seen a dramatic population decline of 8.3% a year for the past two decades, with 167,000 hedgehogs killed each year by vehicles. To protect the little mammals, Dandara has installed small gaps under boundary fences, creating a highway that provides a safe and connected network of green space that hedgehogs can roam through.
With hedgehogs being listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, the highways will help to increase hedgehog habitats and provide key refuges from pressures in the wider landscape, such as traffic and habitat loss.
Alongside the installation of the hedgehog highways, Dandara has also shown its commitment to the care of the species by making a £500 donation to Forth Hedgehog Hospital in Rosyth, which will be used to feed and look after injured hedgehogs.
Lisa Archibald, head of sales at Dandara Scotland, said: “Preserving and nurturing the wildlife and environment in which we build is vitally important to us and we were only too happy to install the highways after the issue was highlighted to us by Eskbank & Newbattle Community Council.”
Christina Harley of Eskbank & Newbattle Community Council said: “In the last 20 years, hedgehog numbers have dropped by a third in urban areas and by half in rural areas. The loss of hedgehogs would be absolutely devastating to our environment, which is why it is so vital to have measures in place to protect them. We asked Dandara if they would help, and they were quick to respond.”
Nadia Al-Dujaili from the Forth Hedgehog Hospital added: “It is heart-warming that a housebuilder is doing something to help hedgehogs get from A to B as that can be a real issue, as they need to be able to roam so they can forage for food. We are very grateful for their kind donation to the hospital, it will make a huge difference to us.”
She is urging householders to also play their part in keeping hedgehogs safe by taking some simple measures to protect the mammals - making sure all open drains are covered as the animals can fall into them, put sports nets away safely when not in use as their spines can get tangled in them and ensuring poisons and pesticides are kept well away from the hedgehog food chain.