Our prickly garden friends need all the help they can get
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan's campaign to halt the dramatic decline in the number of hedgehogs is not some vanity project. For the prickly creatures, beloved stars in many a bedtime story, are indicators of the health of the natural world. That they have fallen in number in the UK from 36 million in the 1950s to fewer than one million today shows the crisis in our hedgerows.
Don't cut down that hedge, leave out a little food and try to preserve existing habitat - surely that is not too much to ask to protect one of the most fascinating and harmless creatures to visit our gardens.