HEDGEHOG tunnels have been installed in netted hedges after a campaign by teenagers went viral.
Kyra Barboutis and Sophie Smith from Hedgehog Friendly Town, who rescue and rehabilitate the creatures, feared hedgehogs and other wildlife could become trapped in the netted hedgerows – aimed at stopping birds nesting in hedgerows earmarked for removal as part of building works.
After discovering the netting around the Arden Heath Farm site on Loxley Road, the Stratford High pupils recorded a video explaining the dangers to hibernating hedgehogs, which got over 5,5000 views.
Developer Taylor Wimpey met with the duo and Kyra’s mum Helen to discuss how to mitigate the risks to wildlife.
And now the developer has delivered the promise to install the one-way tunnels for mammals and other wildlife to escape if necessary.
The girls have welcomed the move.
Sophie said: “I’m very proud that we have managed to change the minds of Taylor Wimpey and got the tunnels put in which is great.
“I’m happy as the hedgehogs now have more chance of survival as they can now get out of the netted hedge.”
Kyra added: “Having these tunnels installed is the next best thing that could’ve been done besides removing the netting. At least this way all ground dwelling animals have a chance at life. I’m so pleased they are keeping the remaining trees and hedges on the land.”
Taylor Wimpey confirmed more tunnels were due to be installed and would be checked regularly by an ecologist.
The developer added: “We will remain in touch with Sophie and Kyra as our proposals for the site progress.
“We are thankful to all those who have expressed their concerns about hedgerow netting and will continue to work closely with ecologists across all of our sites in order to ensure appropriate measures are put in place to protect local wildlife.”
The practice of netting has since attracted widespread criticism after reports from concerned public began to emerge from areas across the UK. A petition calling for it become a criminal offence has nearly 200,000 signatures and a campaign is asking people to send photographs of netting to their local authority.
* Kyra and Sophie are crowdfunding for thermal camera equipment to check for hedgehogs at risk from netting, hedge removal and bonfire piles.
Some funds will also go to their work educating and raising awareness in schools and towards an intensive care unit for injured hedgehogs.
So far they have raised nearly £1,600 of their £5,000 target.
Visit www.gofundme.com/help-save-the-hedgehogs to donate.