Are hedgehogs legally protected?
Hedgehogs do have some degree of legal protection in the UK.
- they are listed on schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) which makes it illegal to kill or capture wild hedgehogs, with certain methods listed
- they are also listed under the Wild Mammals Protection Act (1996), which prohibits cruel treatment of hedgehogs
- a species of ‘principal importance’ under the NERC Act, which is meant to confer a ‘duty of responsibilty’ to public bodies
Unfortunately, none of these laws deal with the route causes of the decline.
Should hedgehogs be legally protected?
Perhaps. The most sensible thing to push for would be a reclassification of hedgehogs under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to make them a schedule 5 species. This would introduce a legal imperative to search for hedgehogs in developments – and a legal imperative to mitigate for them.
In 2015 PTES and BHPS campaigned alongside Oliver Colvile MP to try and get the hedgehog listed on schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.