HEDGEHOGS are set to receive a helping hand to stop their decline from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Cllr Helen Weltman, Conservative member for Davenham, Moulton and Kingsmead, won support from across the chamber on Thursday night for her call to introduce ‘hedgehog highways’.

Britain’s hedgehog population has plummeted from 30 million in the 1950s to just one million today, Cllr Weltman told the council, and one reason for this is due to solid boundaries being placed around gardens.

In the motion she put to council, she said: “As hedgehogs travel up to two miles a night between March and September, I would like the council to consider asking developers to plant native hedging for boundaries.

“If this is not possible, then any solid walls or fences should incorporate wildlife tunnels. This would allow hedgehogs to access multiple gardens for food and nesting sites.

Northwich Guardian:

Cllr Helen Weltman

“CWAC could be one of the pioneering councils in the country to help one of the UK’s much-loved native species to increase its numbers.”

Cllr Weltman’s idea was supported by Cllr Patricia Parkes, Conservative member for Hartford and Greenbank.

She told councillors she was upset when her daughter recently sent her a video of a hedgehog family she discovered, which were the first hedgehogs she had ever seen which were not killed on the side of a road.

Cllr Parkes said: “Many of my residents feel that we are constantly fighting developments in my ward – we are being inundated.

“While boxes are ticked and reports are written, little actually is done to protect our wildlife.

“We need to hold these developers to account – this motion is a step in the right direction.”

Labour Cllr Nicole Meardon, cabinet member for children and families, welcomed the move – and added that work should be done with schools, community groups and parish councils to get as many people involved as possible in preparing their gardens to help support hedgehogs.

“This is an important issue and it is very close to my heart,” she said.

“I believe we should all do everything that we can to protect these wonderful creatures which are an essential part of British wildlife.”