North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Issues and Options 2019

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North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Issues and Options 2019

Question 67: What approach should the AAP take to ensure delivery of a net gain in biodiversity?

Representation ID: 33448

Received: 25/03/2019

Respondent: Cambridge Hedgehogs

Representation Summary:

We would like to meet with councillors to discuss ways in which hedgehog populations can be protected and enhanced during this development work.

Full text:

I represent a Cambridge-based organisation providing education to the public regarding conservation of hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are an iconic symbol of biodiversity and now an endangered species in Britain. we are in a critical time to prevent further decline of populations of one of Britain's favourite wild mammals. A habitat that is suitable for hedgehogs will inevitably be suitable for birds, insects and amphibians.

I note that a habitat survey has not yet been performed and would suggest this is done at the earliest opportunity. I do not see how you can plan to enhance biodiversity without knowing what is already there.

The Big Hedgehog Map is a project run by People's trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society allowing members of the public the ability to map sightings of hedgehogs. This map (https://bighedgehogmap.org/) indicates that there are populations of hedgehogs around Kings Hedges, Milton Road and North Chesterton.

We would be very interested in offering consultancy on how best to serve the hedgehog population of NEC during this development, including avoiding disturbance during nesting periods etc. We think a project of this scale gives an excellent opportunity to really enhance biodiversity in the area, rather than simply paying lip-service to the government guidelines. Cambridge should be championing green development that supports wildlife throughout every stage of design and implementation.

Ideas include:
1) Creation of wildlife corridors and safe pathways to enable mammals to avoid roads / cycle routes
2) Mandatory 'hedgehog holes' in fences in new properties to create hedgehog highways. (Hedgehogs need to roam several kilometres each night to get adequate food and water).
3) Incorporation of native hedgerows and wildlife gardens into park design with information boards and activities to educate children (e.g. Nightingale Avenue wildlife garden)
4) Addition of lakes / ponds to provide year round water source for wildlife
5) Maximisation of grassed public areas rather than paved courtyards
6) Wildlife friendly long-term maintenance avoiding the use of herbicides / pesticides, and avoiding any wildlife disturbance during critical seasons for breeding / hibernation.

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