THE REMOVAL of a hedge near to a hedgehog release site in Stratford has prompted an outcry from rescuers.
Kyra Barboutis and Sophie Smith from Hedgehog Friendly Town were devastated when they discovered developer Bloor Homes had torn down a hedge to make way for a new roundabout near the Luddington Road site.
The hedge was around half a mile from Anne Hathaway’s cottage where the Stratford High pupils regularly release hedgehogs into what they say is an already thriving population.
But Bloor Homes planning director Nick Rawlings said the removal of the hedge had been agreed with authorities and the hedgerows were checked on the morning of the works by an ecologist to ensure no wildlife would be harmed.
But Kyra’s mum Helen argued it would have been very difficult to see the hedgehogs which had likely made their home in the hedge.
She said: “The hedgehogs have been in hibernation and are just waking up around now. It’s more than likely that they were there and they would have died when the hedge was cut down.
“Most are very small and not easy to detect even with night vision they are very difficult to see.
“Some of them could have well been ones the girls had looked after and released.”
She added her 13-year-old daughter had returned the next day with equipment to check whether there were any injured hedgehogs she could save but the area had been fenced off.
The pair have attempted to contact Bloor Homes to discuss ways to better protect wildlife on development sites and are awaiting a response.
They recently met with developer Taylor Wimpey after their Facebook video discussing the dangers of hedge netting to hedgehogs went viral.
The netting is used to keep out birds during nesting season and the developer had covered a number of hedges earmarked to be removed, which could have trapped hibernating hedgehogs and other wildlife.
Representatives agreed to create tunnels for hedgehogs so they could escape from the hedges.
Helen told the Observer the developer also agreed to create ‘hedgehog highways’ and homes on the site, and would educate new residents on how they could help the declining population.
The pair – which often hold workshops and give talks at schools and events – were recently named by BBC’s Countryfile as ‘Inspiring Women’ and were finalists in the educator of the year and young achiever categories at the Pride of Stratford Awards.