HEDGEHOGS will be able to move freely in and around Lanark Train Station following alterations made by Network Rail.
It comes after a concerned local resident contacted the rail firm after noticing that the animals were becoming trapped under a boundary fence at the station.
Hedgehog-sized holes at regular intervals have now been cut along the bottom of boundary fencing to create ‘hedgehog highways’ which Network Rail said will allow them to move freely.
With the work already proving to be beneficial to the hedgehogs, Network Rail said it intends to add a small hole at the base of each back garden fence renewal carried out – with it hoping that, over time, it will help reverse the current decline in hedgehog numbers.
To help raise awareness of the plight of the creatures, hedgehog-shaped signs and an information board have been installed to highlight the reason behind the work and to raise awareness.
Ashleigh Wylie, Network Rail Scotland ecologist, commented, “We really appreciate members of the public taking the time to bring things to our attention – particularly where animals may be at risk and we can do something to help – as with the hedgehogs at Lanark station. Network Rail is committed to our environment and we manage our lineside with safety, performance and biodiversity in mind.
“As part of a team of ecologists, we get to offer advice on protected species and habitat management to colleagues working on the railway. It is great when we see this advice transformed into practical action with the solutions we have advised or developed implemented and working to protect creatures on or around the railway.
“We are hopeful that when the hedgehogs waken from their hibernation, the Hedgehog Highway will provide a safe way for them to move freely to and from the railway.”
Eilidh Call, senior project officer at HogWatch Scotland, added, “Hedgehog numbers are in decline and part of the reason is garden fences and walls reduce the amount of land available to them. By making life a little easier for them by removing the barriers within our control –making holes in or under our garden fences and walls for them to pass through – we are helping them to feed and to find a mate; quite directly helping to address the decline in numbers.
“We are delighted that Network Rail Scotland will be creating Hedgehog Highways on fencing renewals going forward as this will help these much-loved little creatures access food-rich environments. It will really make a positive contribution to protecting these little creatures for future generations to love.”