Hedgehogs: Nature Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 15 November 2023.

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Photo of Matt Vickers Matt Vickers Conservative, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the existence of hedgehogs through (a) local nature recovery strategies, (b) biodiversity net gain measures and (c) future farm subsidy payments.

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a number of policies that will support the restoration of habitat. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) and a strengthened biodiversity duty on public authorities will work together to drive action, including to create or restore habitats that will enable wildlife, such as hedgehogs, to recover and thrive, while conservation covenants will help secure habitat for the long term. LNRSs will bring local authorities, communities, landowners and conservation groups together to agree priorities to help nature and protect locally and nationally important species. They will also map specific proposals for habitat creation and improvement such as woodland, heathland and species-rich grassland, all of which will benefit vulnerable species including hedgehogs.

In addition, agri-environment schemes have provided a significant source of funding for habitat creation and management for threatened species. Our new environmental land management (ELM) schemes will provide farmers, foresters and other land managers with an opportunity to secure financial support in return for delivering environmental benefits. Hedgerows are an important habitat for hedgehogs and their food source. Actions to fund the creation, restoration and maintenance of hedgerows are available through the Countryside Stewardship and Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes.

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