National and leading partnership homebuilder Keepmoat is rolling out Hedgehog Highways to help the endangered species.

The Doncaster-based company, which employs more than 1,100 people, is launching Hedgehog Highways, a series of 13cm-by-13cm holes included in its developments’ fences, to help roaming hedgehogs pass through its communities with ease.

Following the rapid decline of hedgehogs in the UK – some reports suggest up to three-quarters of Britain’s rural hedgehogs may have been lost in recent decades – Keepmoat has updated its fencing specifications to include the Hedgehog Highway holes as standard.

Nature columnist and author of The Hedgehog Handbook, Sally Coulthard said: “The rapid decline of hedgehogs is catastrophic. In the 1950s there were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK, but today the best estimate is that they’re down to less than a million.

“The decline is due to a perfect storm of circumstances including the intense agriculture for cheaper food and the removal of these animals’ natural habitat. Thankfully, gardens are surprisingly biodiverse, which allows hedgehogs to live happily in built-up areas, however, it’s imperative that we give them a helping hand and allow them to freely roam between green spaces without restriction.

“The Hedgehog Highways created by Keepmoat are absolutely fantastic and will help hedgehogs immensely on their night-time journeys, which can see them travelling up to 2km a night.”

In addition to Hedgehog Highways, Keepmoat is providing customers with tips on how to create a hedgehog friendly zone in their gardens. Andrew Boyd, senior environmental sustainability advisor said: “As a business we’re incredibly proud of our growth, and with that growth we need to play our part in protecting and enhancing the wildlife we encounter on our developments.

“Within our developments we’re committed to providing communities which promote biodiversity, including the use of hedges, trees, open spaces, gardens, and water-based landscapes, to help wildlife grow and prosper.
“To continue our commitment, the new Hedgehog Highways will feature in our rear and side fencing as standard, to allow hedgehogs to enter and exit gardens as quickly and efficiently as possible. Over the coming months we look forward to raising awareness of hedgehogs amongst our residents, and the additional steps that can be taken to assist them.”