Wildlife-friendly Gardens: Worth the extra cost.

A UK wide survey has revealed that seven out of 10 people in the South East would consider paying more for a property that has a wildlife-friendly garden.

Together, the RSPB and Rightmove asked 1,548 people across the UK a series of questions relating to gardens and garden wildlife. In answer to the question ?would you pay more for a house with a wildlife friendly garden?? 16% of people surveyed answered ?yes, definitely?, another 15% answered ?probably? and 37% said ?maybe?. Of those surveyed, more than 9 out of 10 (95%) said they were happy when they saw wildlife in their garden, and 92% feel they have a duty to protect wildlife.

Across the region, 80% of respondents agreed that gardens can really make a difference in helping to save some of the threatened species in the UK. The survey was carried out to get an insight into people?s knowledge and interest in UK garden wildlife following the launch of the RSPB?s new campaign, Giving Nature a Home, which aims to help tackle the crisis facing the UK?s threatened wildlife. The charity is urging the nation to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces and hopes to inspire people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature. TV homes expert, Linda Barker, is supporting the campaign and said: ?To me, having wildlife in your garden is the perfect finishing touch to any home. Planting wild flowers, digging a pond or creating a log pile for bugs is not just a good way of getting creative and making your garden more attractive, but it will also benefit threatened garden wildlife at the same time. ?Individual actions will make a difference and start to help tackle the lack of habitats for some of our wild creatures. In my garden I?ve put up a nest box for birds and planted nectar-rich flowers to attract bees. If everyone can do just one thing and gave nature a home in their outside space it would be amazing – together we can make a big difference.? Sophie McCallum, South East Communications Manager, said: ?The results of this survey are really encouraging. To find out that the majority of people in the south east think having a wildlife-friendly garden is so important they?d consider paying more for one is great news.

?Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. Gardens provide a valuable lifeline for things like starlings, toads, hedgehogs and butterflies, so we want to persuade people to give nature a home where they live ? it could really help make a difference.?

Matthew James, Head of Communications at Rightmove, comments:??The garden has always been one of the key aspects many buyers consider when looking for their dream home, and for some it can even end up being the deciding factor.? For so many home-buyers to say they would consider paying more for one is a very promising sign for the Give Nature a Home campaign. Wildlife-friendly gardens, as well as helping to prevent a further decline in some species, can be a great way for families to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about the creatures that live, quite literally, on their doorstep.?

The launch of the RSPB?s Giving Nature a Home campaign comes after 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the groundbreaking State of Nature report [see editors? notes] revealing 60 per cent of the wildlife species studied have declined over recent decades. Sophie added: ?There are all sorts of jobs you can do in your garden at this time of year that will help give nature a home. From planting bulbs ready to attract bees and other insects next year; building or buying a hedgehog shelter, also known as a ?Hogitat?, ready for them to hibernate in; digging a pond or tidying-up your existing one; or putting up nest boxes in time for next spring. ?And those who want to rest not work this weekend can still do their bit for nature. Holding off on pruning your hedges is a great way of helping wildlife without actually having to do anything.? Leaving them until around February next year means the berries will be able to be eaten throughout the winter.? The RSPB is offering free expert advice to people on how to give nature a home in their outside spaces – whether it?s a huge garden or a small planting tub on a balcony.

By visiting the RSPB?s website people can get their free Giving Nature a Home starter guide, pledge their support by sharing plans, pictures, tips and ideas with others.? The site also gives more information about what the RSPB is doing to give nature a home in the wider countryside.rspb.org.uk/homes

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