Hedgehog petition debate in parliament
8th July 2021
Last week we asked you to write to your MP and urge them to attend the debate on hedgehog legal protection. The BHPS petition, asking the government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, was debated in Parliament on 5th July 2021. This is not to be confused with Hugh Warwick’s hedgehog highway petition, which has recently reached one million signatures. Details of the BHPS petition and a video of the debate can be found HERE.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to their MP and asked them to attend. Eleven MPs were at the debate, some in person and some virtually. All those that took part in the debate spoke passionately about helping hedgehogs and supported the petition request.
The minister present for the purpose of the debate spoke about government’s Green Paper that is due in autumn. It will follow a review of species legislation, with the intention of enhancing and modernising it.
BHPS have been in touch with all those MPs and with the DEFRA minister to see how we move this forward together. They will continue to apply pressure for greater legal protection to help the dwindling hedgehog population in the UK.
Watch this space…!
Hedgehog legal protection
Hedgehogs are currently protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (schedule 6), as well as the Wild Mammals Protection Act (1996). This makes it illegal to kill or capture them using certain methods, and prohibits cruelty and mistreatment.
However, none of this legislation is actually relevant to any of the key reasons for why hedgehogs are declining. It therefore has limited relevance for the conservation of wild hedgehog populations.
Schedule 5 protection would ensure that nesting sites as well as hedgehogs themselves are protected from disturbance or harm.
All other ‘vulnerable to extinction’ mammals on the UK red list have schedule 5 protection; hazel dormice, serotine bats, barbastelle bats and Orkney voles. Other schedule 5 terrestrial mammals include red squirrels, water voles, otters and all bat species.