A petition by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has just topped 500,000 signatures.

The petition, started by the organisation's communications officer Hugh Warwick, is calling on the Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to ensure that all new housing developments are built with hedgehog highways as standard.

Hedgehog numbers are in steep decline - down 30 percent in urban areas since the turn of the century, and down 50 percent in the countryside. One of the best ways to help hedgehogs is to ensure they can move through the landscape unhindered.

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Hugh Warwick retro-fitting a Hedgehog Highway. Image: Zoe Broughton

The BHPS campaign Hedgehog Street has focussed on making sure gardens are accessible to hedgehogs - a small 13cm x 13cm (CD case sized) hole is all that is needed.

But it would be much easier if these holes were in place to begin with.

Fence manufacturers are being lobbied to provide the holes as part of their service. The new petition appeals to take this one stage further.

BHPS's Hugh Warwick said: "I am thrilled and excited - this outpouring of hedgehog support is, however, about more than just our favourite animal. It is about how we care for and respect nature as a whole".

Link to petition here