Lord Patten – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Patten on 2016-04-11.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the trend in the size of the hedgehog population in England since 2000; and what is the reason for that trend.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ State of Britain’s Hedgehogs Report 2015 estimated a population of 1.55 million hedgehogs in England, Wales and Scotland in the 1990s. Since 2000, rural populations are thought to have declined by at least a half and urban populations by up to a third. The current population is estimated at around 1 million.

The reasons for their decline are complex and include a number of factors including intensive agricultural practices (including loss of hedgerows), use of pesticides reducing availability of food, roads, a lack of available shelter in urban areas and restriction of movement and badgers which predate on hedgehogs and compete for their food.

The Government supports efforts to encourage local communities to work together in supporting the hedgehog such as making our gardens more hedgehog friendly and more welcoming to wildlife in general.

Working with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species the Government has recently published advice for homeowners in the form of five simple steps to make gardens more hedgehog friendly, from letting grassy areas grow wild to providing food and shelter.