Hedgehog Awareness Week
1st - 5th May annually
From the March and April Newsletters On the run up to Hedgehog week
Read one of the state of British Hedgehogs and why they are in decline HERE
__________________________________________________________________New Meet Hedgehog Officer, Henry Johnson.
Belgravia Society are delighted to introduce our very own Hedgehog Officer, Henry at PTES a charity based in Battersea. You can read all about Henry and what he has to report in a new column over the coming months. Take it away Henry..
But first the bio ...
Henry is a Hedgehog Officer at People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), a local charity based in Battersea.
He coordinates their conservation work for hedgehogs, in partnership with BHPS. A big part of his job is managing Hedgehog Street, a national campaign that’s inspired 40,000 ‘Hedgehog Champions’ across the country to stand up for hedgehogs. He also trains land managers and administrates the EU Hedgehog Research Group. He is also increasingly working with developers to try and ensure new developments are wildlife friendly.
PTES and BHPS produce a biennial healthcheck for the UK’s hedgehogs and host the national conservation strategy which can be viewed
Now please read on ...
The current state of London’s hedgehogs
by Henry Johnson,
People’s Trust for Endangered Species
The first week of May is Hedgehog Awareness Week, and with most British hedgehogs emerging for hibernation during March and early April now is opportunity time to think about these spiny beasts in a London context. In the 1970s, ecologist Eric Simms did a survey of the eight central Royal Parks and found hedgehogs present in every one; now only Regent’s Park has a population (with infrequent visitors to Bushy). This reflects more widespread changes to London’s hedgehogs, with research by Anouschka Hof in 2006 indicated a decline of around 50%, and PTES’ long running Living with Mammals survey suggests that urban ‘hogs continue to decline. But why have hedgehogs declined in London, and what should we do to help them?
How do hedgehogs cope with city life?
Image credit: Sheena Ballard/Hedgehog Street
Hedgehogs are frequently described as a woodland animal, but in reality they are a generalist, found right across rural and urban landscapes, including the centre of our cities. Perhaps surprisingly, the highest densities of animals in the UK are thought to be found in suburbia, were food is abundant and predation rates low. In all likelihood human activities since prehistory have favoured hedgehogs through the creation of edge habitats through agriculture and settlement, and it is only in the last fifty years or so that this balance has fundamentally changed.
Wildlife Special Feature - Hedgehogs Continued ...
Before Nigel Reeve started radiotracking hedgehogs in Middlesex in the 1970s, nobody really knew what they did at night-time. His findings were illuminating, with both male and female animals travelling between 1 and 2km each night, over home ranges of between 100,000 and 300,000 square metres. If you consider that the average UK garden is 100m2 you can begin to understand the importance of connectivity – the freedom for hedgehogs to wander between patches of land – as a key aspect of hedgehog ecology.
Click map to enlarge
Hedgehogs are popular and easy to recognise and because of this we have a pretty good idea of their distribution in London, with citizen science surveys like the BIG Hedgehog Map and the Big Garden BirdWatch adding several thousand sightings each year. The distribution map shows that hedgehogs are still widely distributed in London, but there is a gap in the centre of city where development has forced them out (while they cling on in Regent’s Park). Strong-holds that are close to centre are possibly Hampstead Heath, Barnes, Rotherhithe and West Hampstead.
Where are London’s remaining hedgehogs?
Below Image: Louise W E Wren/Hedgehog Street
Hedgehogs are in severe decline, in both urban and rural areas. We’ve lost up to a third of all our urban hedgehogs since 2000 and they continue to decline. The erosion of London’s green space for patios, car parking space and artificial grass directly remove the feeding areas hedgehogs need. Many thousands of hedgehogs are killed each year on the road network – they are notoriously naïve pedestrians. But more than anything we think that fragmentation is a threat – purely because hedgehogs need large areas of connected land to thrive. This can be made of many small patches – hence the push for ‘hedgehog highways’ (13cm x 13cm holes) in fences and walls
What does the future hold?
Friends of Apley Wood/Hedgehog Street
Three changes would improve things for London’s ‘hogs:
3) Greatly increased public awareness about the importance of existing gardens (and not pavement or astroturf) for the health of wild hedgehog populations.
2) The introduction of a requirement for a minimum percentage of greenspace in all developments (E.g. Malmo in Sweden Green Points System).
1) The enshrinement of ‘hedgehog-highways’ in new developments as part of the London Plan.
If members of the Belgravia Society would like to help with our work and have contacts within the GLA, Westminster, the media or in the construction industry
then please contact me:
Hedgehog Awareness Week
1st - 5th May 2017
Top hedgehog Image credit: Paul Genge/Hedgehog Street
Other Conservation references:
A holistic approach to planning and achieving sustainable development
Continued from February 2017 ..
Quoting Greg Clark, Minister for Planning from Sustainable Development ...
"Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations. And ... Development means growth. Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment"
Creative ways to Improve lives
in harmony with nature ...
So ... Planning should be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve lives and the environment, so that it works in harmony with nature. The community should be engaged in this process of decision making rather than simply leaving it to the “experts and specialists.”
There are 12 Core Planning Principles within the overarching roles that should underpin both plan-making and decision taking. Some of the principles relevant to our unique environment are set out below.
Local people should be empowered to lead on neighbourhood plans and keep them updated so that larger issues can be jointly addressed and cooperatively worked on.
Take into account the needs of residential and business communities when deciding to identify areas suitable for redevelopment
Always seek to secure high quality design and a good standard of amenity for all existing and future occupants of land and buildings
Promote the vitality of our neighbourhood, protecting our green spaces, recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the local area and supporting a thriving community
●Support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risks in the local area and encourage the reuse of existing resources, including conversion of existing buildings, and encourage the use of renewable resources (for example, by the development of renewable energy)
Allocations of land for development should prefer land of lesser environmental value, whilst contributing to conserving and enhancing the natural environment and reducing pollution
Encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value
Conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance, so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life now and for future generations
Actively manage growth to make full use of public transport, walking and cycling
Building towards a strong competitive economy ...
Planning should encourage and not impede sustainable growth and to help achieve this, our local authority should proactively plan to meet the development needs of business and support an economy fit for the 21st century.
Find out more about the ... National Planning Policy and Grosvenor’s 20 Year Vision...
Above information précised from National Planning Policy Framework, which allows people and communities back into planning; can be found here or copy and paste link below in your browser
Grosvenor 20 Year Vision can be found here or copy and paste in your browser the following link:
To Be Continued -------
Please send any comments / feedback to
New - we will identify a different bird over the coming months. Please share with us if you come across any of the featured feathered residents in your area. We may include findings in future newsletters
Image credit RSPB.ORG.UK
How lovely it is to hear the birds singing so happily in March and I hope you are enjoying them too. Many thanks to the intervention of our hardworking Grosvenor Landscape Team providing them with homes and refreshments. Please help by providing a nest box in your garden or terrace, if possible with plenty of water and a variety of birdseed to attract different types of birds. In return, our feathered Belgravia residents will appreciate and reward you with their joyful songs.
Next time you are out and about, look and listen carefully for the Goldfinch
They may be present in your area (whether you are in Belgravia, Westminster, Pimlico, Knightsbridge or Chelsea). A delightful rambling twitter or tinkling best describes their song. The Goldfinch was once a favourite of the Victorians and was kept as a caged bird because of its colourful plumage and beautiful singing. After a serious decline in the 70s and 80s, their population finally recovered. However, their numbers still need to be monitored.
The Goldfinch can be attracted to your garden by adding various tree seeds, such as niger seed and teasels. They will also feed on sunflower hearts.
Do visit and add any photographs to our
Bel_ark Instagram gallery
Or alternatively our flickr gallery
The Belgravia Society Conservation Watch ... April 4th 2015
Forthcoming major developments in Belgravia
(including 1-5 Grosvenor Place)
April 4th 2015
Will the project be conducive to wildlife and how?
When I asked a question recently about whether the development would be conducive to wild life, we received a very positive response, which was good news. Westminster and Grosvenor have strict environmental policies, so all that remains are for projects such as the above to work within the parameters of these policies.
Just over 300 years ago, the area of Belgravia and Hyde Park Corner was rural. Today it is a busy metropolis with no sign of abating. It is no wonder wildlife in Britain is in decline. Habitat is constantly being eroded by humanity and there is a lack of space for other species to thrive. Ever more people leads to increasing housing and development; decreases the amount of personal space they have and affects their perceived quality of life. Their sense of wellbeing depends to some extent on: having enough space; having access to green areas; being able to move from one place to another with ease; and having times of tranquility.
The 1-5 Grosvenor Place Project has a unique opportunity to lead the way in restoring quality of life, not just for the people who live, work and visit this landmark area, but to contribute, address and actively preserve habitats and ecosystems around the world. The Hotel Group prides itself on its policy of prestige, luxury and blending with the local life, through its Hotels worldwide. This should surely mean quality of life and personal space is essential for the well being of all species — including our own. Working on local and national levels, raising awareness and helping to promote policy change should make conglomerates such as the luxury hotel group (HKSH) become one of the leading lights in the reversal of climate change, promoting conservation and tackling global warming.
Photos supplied by Mary Regnier-Leigh
Some holistic suggestions:
· Locate as many services and amenities underground and away from residents / tourists and wild life to free up extra above ground space
· The value of biodiversity is in both the range of species and the genetic differences within species, therefore continually work towards this end
Insects for example play an essential role in pollinating food crops
· Create beautiful and practical bug hotels. Cadogan Gardens Gardener Ric Glenn and his Team have just installed a community V.I. P. Mini Beasts hotel in conjunction with several top contractors
· A wonderful initiative see link and read all about it in the
Sloane Square Magazine on page 30, “A bug’s Life” here
· Create Butterfly zones / Butterfly conservation
· UK Butterflies -
· Habitats - wildlife such as planting / permeable surfaces
· Self binding gravels -
· Golden Amber gravels -
· Westminster Environmental Policy
Grosvenor Sustainability - Long term outlook -
Bibliography - Population Matters
For further information on how you can contribute to conservation matters please contact
From the Conservation Team at the Belgravia Society